The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

James M. Douglas

Law professor and university president James Matthew Douglas was born on February 11, 1944 in Onalaska, Texas to Desso and Mary Douglas. He graduated from Texas Southern University in 1966 with his B.A. degree in mathematics. In 1970, Douglas received his J.D. degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School Of Law, where he graduated first in his class. He went on to receive his J.S.M. degree in computer law from Stanford University in 1971.

From 1966 to 1971, Douglas worked as a computer analyst for Singer Simulation Company, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contractor in Houston, Texas. In 1971, he was hired as an assistant professor of law at Texas Southern University. Douglas then worked as an assistant professor at Cleveland State University School of Law from 1972 to 1975; associate professor of law and associate dean at Syracuse University College of Law from 1975 to 1980; and professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law from 1980 to 1981. Then, in 1981, Douglas returned to Texas Southern University, where he was hired as dean and professor of law at the university’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He served as interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in 1995, and, later that year, was named president of Texas Southern University. After his presidency ended in 1999, Douglas was named a distinguished professor of law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He also served as Florida A & M University’s interim dean from 2005 to 2007, and was made executive vice president of Texas Southern University in 2008.

Douglas has served on the board of directors of the Hiscock Legal Society, Gulf Coast Legal Foundation and the Law School Admission Council. He was also a member of the Minority Affairs Committee of the Law School Admission Council, served as the American Bar Association’s chairman of education for the Committee of Science and Technology Section, and was a member of The Texas Lawyer Editorial Board. He has also authored several articles that have appeared in scholarly journals.

Douglas lives in Houston, Texas and is married to Tanya Smith Douglas. He has three children: DeLicia, James and Erika.

James Douglas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 4, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/4/2014 |and| 5/5/2014

Last Name

Douglas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Matthew

Schools

Texas Southern University

Stanford University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Onalaska

HM ID

DOU06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Sometimes You Have To Do What You Don’t Wanna Do In Order To Be Able To Do What You Wanna Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

2/11/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Law professor and university president James M. Douglas (1944 - ) served as president of Texas Southern University from 1995 to 1999.

Employment

Singer Simulation Company

Texas Southern University

Cleveland State University School of Law

Syracuse University College of Law

Northeastern University School of Law

Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Florida A&M University

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:1152,25:3968,145:15056,268:17156,322:27694,408:34064,525:55708,775:56506,783:66830,869:67470,879:74556,976:76572,1005:77706,1031:81544,1056:82760,1081:84204,1118:84964,1134:88688,1261:95414,1298:95884,1304:96354,1310:112754,1503:113223,1511:113826,1525:115702,1564:118533,1576:119843,1587:120367,1592:124648,1645:125075,1653:125319,1658:125563,1663:127677,1671:131418,1740:132027,1748:134376,1778:150990,1961:152940,2026:153330,2032:154422,2054:162219,2158:163959,2200:164481,2207:164916,2213:167265,2254:172045,2287:188448,2455:189396,2478:191924,2531:193030,2552:193662,2569:194294,2578:195163,2592:198402,2665:202312,2671:203432,2684:204328,2694:207500,2709:208340,2717:210517,2726:211587,2737:212015,2742:215546,2800:216616,2811:219804,2823:220686,2833:221274,2841:221764,2848:222548,2858:226340,2891:233578,3030:234186,3039:245762,3193:247974,3219:258478,3250:258854,3255:259606,3265:260170,3272:262908,3292:263944,3309:267450,3351:267770,3356:268250,3363:268810,3376:269210,3382:269530,3387:274090,3485:289982,3700:293601,3767:299456,3810:299974,3819:301380,3857:301750,3864:309690,3958$0,0:542,4:2290,39:2822,47:3202,53:3506,58:7458,191:19118,345:20171,439:35280,574:37051,587:38505,638:46770,795:61266,973:67625,1086:67981,1093:80190,1207:88038,1373:88378,1379:91028,1424:101942,1543:104217,1603:113932,1726:122630,1880:123654,1889:127320,1905:127548,1910:136946,2000:144710,2094:148266,2111:149302,2119:164030,2330:183927,2478:188770,2538:189410,2548:195539,2589:196562,2602:198143,2636:206015,2849:218200,2990:221600,3015:230180,3065:240256,3163:245712,3264:269595,3541:270465,3554:271161,3563:272292,3580:272640,3585:274467,3604:275163,3614:276207,3630:279048,3642:279493,3648:280472,3662:282074,3690:289436,3794:295940,3900
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James M. Douglas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas explains the spelling of his mother's last name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about an uncle fleeing Texas for Seattle, Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas describes the Juneteenth celebrations in Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his mother's education in Onalaska, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes how his maternal family's land was seized under eminent domain

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas talks about his parents' meeting and their migration to Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James M. Douglas describes his parents' personalities and considers which parent he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James M. Douglas lists his siblings and describes his father's perspective on education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas lists his siblings, where they went to school, and their professions, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas lists his siblings, where they went to school, and their professions, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about living in the predominantly white area of Kashmere Gardens in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas explains his decision to attend an HBCU

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his fifth grade teacher, Ms. Sledge, at Atherton Elementary School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes his experience at E.O. Smith Junior High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about his academic interests in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about Kashmere Gardens Junior/Senior High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas describes growing up in the Baptist church

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas describes the two jobs he had growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his refusal to sit in a segregated waiting room at the doctor's office

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas remembers sitting in the front of a segregated bus

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas describes race relations in Houston, Texas during the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes his childhood career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas describes the type of student he was in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about the growing national interest in science during the presidential administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about attending an enrichment program for elementary school students at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about organizing a strike in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas talks about being forbidden from walking across the stage at his high school commencement

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - James M. Douglas talks about the honors he earned in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about Dr. Llaryon Clarkson at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about the movement to integrate schools in Houston, Texas following the leadership of HistoryMaker Reverend Bill Lawson

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being an outspoken campus leader, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about being an outspoken campus leader, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about being an outspoken campus leader, pt. 3

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about changing his major from political science to math

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes his lack of anxiety about the possibility of being expelled for his activism

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit, president of Texas Southern University from 1955 through 1966

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas mentions HistoryMakers Bill Lawson and Pluria Marshall, Sr.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about dropping out of law school, being hired at IBM, and taking a job at the Singer Company

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas talks about working with computer programming languages

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - James M. Douglas talks about working at the Singer Company while completing law school

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - James M. Douglas talks about being active in the employee organization at the Singer Company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about his favorite professor at Texas Southern University Law School, Eugene Harrington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about completing research in computer law at Stanford University and teaching law

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being asked to teach at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about being asked to teach at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas explains why he left Texas Southern University Law School for Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about the first computerized legal research systems

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about working at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes earning the respect of Dean Craig W. Christensen at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas explains how he became associate professor and associate dean at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas explains how he connected with the dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about his relationship with former president of Texas Southern University, Dr. Granville M. Sawyer, Sr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about establishing a training program at the Singer Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about his reputation at the Singer Company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks briefly about his father's work ethic relative to his own

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about working on software systems for flight simulation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about the significance in giving back to African American communities

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.) degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes his conflict with the dean of Stanford Law School over the policies for admitting minority students, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes his conflict with the dean of Stanford Law School over the policies for admitting minority students, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about being investigated by the Ronald Reagan gubernatorial administration for his student work with legal services

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas explains why the dean at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law asked him to move into academic administration

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas remembers working with a difficult colleague at the Singer Company, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas remembers working with a difficult colleague at the Singer Company, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about working in administration and simultaneously teaching

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about deciding to join Syracuse University College of Law in Syracuse, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about faculty and student response to his appointment as associate dean at the Syracuse University School of Law

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes his effort to improve the Syracuse University School of Law and student opposition to his tenure appointment

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about negotiating with the Syracuse University administration over control of the law school library

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about joining the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about recruiting African American students to attend law school

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about technology developments in the legal sector

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about the Watergate Hearings in 1973, speaking with John Dean, and describes how Watergate impacted law schools

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas remembers President Jimmy Carter

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that have been approved by the American Bar Association

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about how the law school admissions formula disadvantaged students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about a study completed by the American Bar Association on minority student success in law school

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about Northeastern University School of Law's experiential legal education program

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes being offered deanship at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas describes being offered deanship at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas describes the environment at the Northeastern University School of Law relative to other law schools

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas shares his legal education philosophy, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas shares his legal education philosophy, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes why he enjoyed law school

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about issues within Northeastern University Law School's cooperative program

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about being considered for deanship at Northeastern University School of Law

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes knowing beforehand that he would be hired as dean at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes the problems he encountered as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about returning to Texas Southern University in 1981 as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about the history of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes his goals as dean for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about a dispute over the representation of Mexican American students on the academic standing and admissions committee

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes increasing revenue at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas describes trying to get his improvement plans approved by the faculty at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes trying to get his improvement plans approved by the faculty at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes dealing with difficult faculty members as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas critiques the faculty at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law under his deanship

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas describes the culture of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University prior to his arrival as dean

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas recalls a conversation with a student about intelligence and work ethic

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas describes observing classes at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law as dean, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes observing classes at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law as dean, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about gaining the support of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents chairman

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about students struggling to pass the bar exam due to poor study habits

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about the level of rigorous study that law school requires

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about the significance of reading comprehension and analytical skills

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about his effort to increase the number of required classes at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about the governor of Texas, Mark White, publically showing his support, and president Dr. Leonard H.O. Spearman

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his relationship with Dr. Leonard H.O. Spearman

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes drafting a report on university budget cuts

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about Texas Southern University President Dr. Robert J. Terry's absence from the Select Committee on Higher Education

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about gathering support and representation for Texas Southern University before the Select Committee of Higher Education

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about the proposal that Texas Southern University merge with the campus of University of Houston-Downtown

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about the merger between Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes the conflict he had with Dr. William H. Harris

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about his disagreement with Dr. William H. Harris, over the allocation of funds to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas remembers his first two encounters with Texas Southern University president, Dr. Joann Horton

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes the first big problem he handled as interim provost at Texas Southern University

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about becoming interim president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1995

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas explains why he wanted to be president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about being appointed president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about discrimination lawsuits filed by white professors against Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, pt.1

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about discrimination lawsuits filed by white professors against Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, pt.2

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about a study by the Law School Admissions Council on the performance of African Americans and Mexican Americans on the bar exam

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about possible reasons African American students do not do well on the bar exam

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about the loss of a lawsuit against Texas Southern University

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about the resolution of a separate lawsuit against Texas Southern University

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about the U.S. Department of Education putting Texas Southern University on a reimbursement financing plan

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about successfully keeping Texas Southern University out of debt, pt. 1

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about successfully keeping Texas Southern University out of debt, pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about Texas institutions of higher education

Tape: 14 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about experiencing difficulty achieving the mission for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tape: 14 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas refutes claims that the State of Texas ever had to bail out Texas Southern University

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas remembers a conversation with Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his conflict with HistoryMaker Alphonso P. Jackson

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being fired as president of Texas Southern University

Tape: 15 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about Willard L. Jackson

Tape: 15 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about Priscilla Slade

Tape: 15 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about negotiating his transition from president of Texas Southern University to teaching in the Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tape: 15 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about cases historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have brought against states for underfunding HBCUs

Tape: 15 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about being asked to work at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 15 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about faculty salaries at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tape: 16 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about the salaries at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 16 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his relationship with Dr. John M. Rudley, who invited him to be executive vice president of Texas Southern University

Tape: 16 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being appointed vice president for governmental affairs and community relations at Texas Southern University

Tape: 16 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas describes the history of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law and the Florida State University College of Law

Tape: 16 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes what inspired him to establish an African American art museum on Texas Southern University's campus

Tape: 16 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about muralist Dr. John T. Biggers and the University Museum at Texas Southern University

Tape: 16 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his involvement in 100 Black Men, the NAACP, and the Boy Scouts

Tape: 16 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas recalls a conversation he had with a student about maintaining pro-black ideology in white environments

Tape: 16 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about the Black Law Students Association [BLSA] at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tape: 17 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas considers what he might have done differently

Tape: 17 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 17 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 17 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about his family, marriages and children

Tape: 17 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$13

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
James M. Douglas describes his childhood career aspirations
James M. Douglas talks about being appointed president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas
Transcript
What was your experience like at Kashmere Gardens [sic, Kashmere Junior/Senior High School, Houston, Texas]? Now you're, you're involved--your, your focused on mathematics, I guess, right. Through, throughout high school?$$I'm, I'm, I'm--I don't know if I would say focus on mathematics. I'm excellent in mathematics. That, that's what I'm good at, that's what everybody thinks I am. That's what all my teachers think I ought to be.$$Okay, okay.$$I focused on becoming a lawyer.$$Okay, so were you focused on becoming a lawyer then?$$Yes.$$Okay, so when did you, you know, get the, the, the idea that you wanted to be a lawyer?$$When people really ask me, I tell 'em it was out of ignorance. I, I arrived at law as a profession out of ignorance. And when I was in the seventh grade, up until then I, I wanted to be a philosopher.$$Now what, what prompted that?$$Because I like to think.$$Okay. Did, did you know--I mean who--I mean did you have any you know, models?$$Socrates.$$Okay.$$Aristotle, Plato.$$So you had 'em in school and you--$$That's what I wanted to be. In fact it was really funny. I, I said that one day in class and one of my student's hand went up and he said, "We have a lot in common." He said, "I majored in philosophy." And I said, "No. I didn't say I wanted to study other people's philosophy." I said, "I wanted to be a philosopher." I loved [Henry David] Thoreau. I mean I was--I, I, I loved people who thought. And so that was--I wanted to be in. But in the seventh grade I did a paper on the great philosophers of the world. And discovered that most of 'em didn't live pleasant lives 'cause people thought they were crazy. Decided I didn't want people to think I was crazy. And so I started looking around for another profession that I thought had a lot of thought and analytical process to it, and arrived at law. And so that's when I decided I wanted to be a lawyer, I was twelve years old.$$Now, now did you know any of the black lawyers in Houston [Texas]?$$Didn't know a black lawyer, didn't meet a black lawyer until I was in the ninth grade.$$Okay, and who, who was that? Who was the first one?$$The first one was Henry [E.] Doyle. And it's really funny because Henry Doyle turns out he was the first graduate of Texas Southern University School of Law [Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston, Texas]. But Henry Doyle was the first lawyer I met in the ninth grade. We had a career day and he came and talked to the students. The students--it was like three of us who said we wanted to be lawyers. All my teachers thought I was crazy. At first they thought I was kidding, and then they thought I was crazy because they could not understand why someone with the scientific mind that I had, would want to be a lawyer. Especially in the segregated South. And everybody told me that I would not make a living as a lawyer in the South. So everybody tried to talk me out of being a lawyer, but I was really excellent in math, and I love math. I mean I loved it as an academic discipline.$$Now what did Henry Doyle say about the law when he spoke to you--your, your group of three students?$$Henry Doyle loved the law. He was the first graduate of the law school. In fact, the story is that they were almost ready to give up on creating the law school until Henry Doyle walked in at the last minute about two or three days before they said they was gonna give up the whole--and say I wanna go to law school. Now I later found out Henry Doyle was forty years old [sic, thirty-seven years old], he was a math teacher who decided he wanted to go to law school. But he later went on not only to become the graduate, first graduate of law school, but he later went on to become a leading jurist. He was a member of one of the appellate courts, the court of appeals here in Texas and, and really made a reputation for himself as a lawyer.$$So he became a judge.$$Yes.$$Appellate court judge.$$Yes.$But when I say it's a story in itself, because after they selected [Dr. William H.] Harris, I'm out with the, chairman and he tells me, he say, "Jim, he say I'm gon' be honest with you." He said, "When [Dr. Leonard H.O.] Spearman left, the board decided that we were gonna, we were gonna bring in an outsider, so you didn't stand a chance." I said, "Then why in the hell didn't you all tell me that? You know if you all already decided that you wasn't--you were gone bring in an outsider, I wouldn't have gone through the process."$$Well probably wouldn't have been good protocol for them to, to--I don't know if, if--but you know for them to say that.$$Yeah, I, I know. But I mean they could have told me, though. I mean it wasn't like I was not their friend, have me do all that work and then say well you wasn't gone get it anyway.$$So okay, so--$$With, with Harr--with, with [Dr. Joann] Horton it was funny 'cause a board member came and took me to lunch. And he said he was taking me to lunch 'cause the board asked him to take me to lunch. They, they were really concerned that I would leave the university when I didn't get the job when, when Horton got it. And, and I told him that I wanted them to know that I was not going anywhere. My commitment was to the university, it wasn't to the board. And because the board didn't have enough sense to pick the right person, it didn't that I was gonna leave the university.$$So, so, so, so there was a search and another round of interviews in '94 (1994) to pick a new president.$$Right.$$After Jo, Jo, Joann Horton left. And this time you were picked. Do you have any idea why?$$Well what, what happened, and that's what I'm getting to.$$Yeah.$$So that was in, that was in October we have a board meeting, they decide and they ask me if I would be the interim. I said, "Yes." They tell me that they're gonna do a national search and that they understand that I'm gonna be a candidate. And so I said, "Okay." And so in the December board meeting, two months later, they immediately called an executive session and I go in and they say, "We've decided that we like for you to be the permanent president. A search is gonna be a waste of our time 'cause we not gon' find anybody any better than you. And so we can do it." So they made me the permanent president with, without a search. The problem was, and it was funny because all my friends called me and they said, "This is shocking. Because the board is Republican. Do they know how Democratic you are?" But the chair was interesting because he called himself an independent, even though he was appointed by a Republican governor.$$So now let me just ask this--what's the composition of the board, the racial composition of Texas Southern [University, Houston, Texas]?$$It's always been majority black.$$Okay.$$It's always been majority black.$$But they're mostly Republicans you say.$$They are now. See when I came to Texas, they were mostly Democrat. And, and that was a strange thing because in 1978 I think it was, Texas elected its first Republican governor after Reconstruction. And it's been cra--it was crazy for about twelve years and now we've had twelve years of all Republican governorship. Who knows if they'll ever have another Democratic in Texas. I, I'm assuming we will. But the chairman told me, he said, "Look man," he say, "I don't care about your politics." He said, "I want somebody who can really run the university, and that's all I'm, I'm really concerned about." And, and so I say that because politics control a lot of what happened during my tenure as president. But anyway, the board decides that, that they want me to become president, and so in December I accepted the position as president of the university.$$Okay, so this is December of '95 [1995], I mean '94 [1994], and then you started in '95 [1995] as president.$$Right.$$Okay.

Pamela Gunter-Smith

Provost and academic vice president Pamela J. Gunter-Smith earned her B.S. degree in biology from Spelman College in 1973 and her Ph.D. degree in physiology from Emory University in 1978. She conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Texas-Houston Medical School. Gunter-Smith has also participated in notable professional development opportunities, such as the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Leadership Development Program and the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship at the University of Miami.

In 1981, Gunter-Smith began working as a project manager and research physiologist at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) where she supervised three independent laboratories and oversaw an independent research program to assess and mitigate the effects of radiation on intestinal physiology. From 1982 to 1992, Gunter-Smith held faculty appointments at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and George Washington University. In 1992, Gunter-Smith was appointed as chair of the biology department and associate provost for science and mathematics at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. During her tenure, she directed the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biomedical Program, improved the curriculum in the natural sciences, facilitated the development of grants for the natural and social sciences, and was instrumental in providing a number of opportunities for the faculty and students. While at Spelman, she played a major role in fund-raising and developing institutional grants from private foundations and federal agencies. In 2006, she joined Drew University as its first provost and academic vice president. As the chief academic officer, she helped to develop and implement a new vision statement to strengthen the natural science departments. Gunter-Smith has been instrumental in developing a successful strategic plan, which resulted in a twenty-five percent increase in undergraduate enrollment.

For her efforts and research at the AFRRI, Gunter-Smith received the Director’s Award for Distinguished Service in 1992. In 2001, she received the Spelman Presidential Faculty Award for Scholarly Achievement. She received the Spelman College Alumnae Achievement Award in Health and Science in 2005.

Pamela J. Gunter-Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 11, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.062

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/11/2013

Last Name

Gunter-Smith

Marital Status

Married

Schools

St. Vincent School

St. Bernard Academy

Spelman College

Emory University

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

First Name

Pamela

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

GUN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It is what it is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/2/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Physiologist and university president Pamela Gunter-Smith (1951 - ) is provost and academic vice president at Drew University.

Employment

Drew University

Spelman College

Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1398,15:2110,24:5225,34:14748,180:20406,205:21324,217:23772,253:29484,321:32890,328:35471,373:41597,414:43508,435:44145,443:47432,459:49433,483:49955,490:50303,495:50651,500:59669,625:60250,634:60748,643:67140,712:67520,765:67976,773:78920,910:83784,1030:93700,1096:94975,1119:95825,1132:96505,1141:97525,1157:100245,1206:101350,1223:102455,1239:104495,1285:119012,1453:119969,1471:120317,1476:121448,1496:122144,1505:122579,1511:126342,1519:127244,1524:146250,1743:146930,1753:149395,1793:152790,1825:153300,1832:163610,1975:163910,1980:164210,1985:169718,2021:169974,2026:173110,2101:174454,2136:174710,2141:182518,2231:182842,2285:185400,2291:186300,2302:190632,2346:191817,2375:201139,2546:201692,2555:213048,2715:218835,2761:220200,2796$0,0:1628,22:2368,35:2886,43:3996,61:4292,66:14187,195:14471,200:15110,212:20950,303:21376,310:22512,329:28738,400:30688,420:32800,429:33208,436:33480,441:50810,653:51175,659:52343,680:55409,731:61249,830:71340,920:75469,981:81677,1081:82259,1088:82938,1096:83714,1101:84781,1128:91796,1171:92176,1177:92784,1186:93468,1202:94076,1214:94608,1222:99396,1307:103504,1319:104778,1330:106052,1344:106640,1351:108465,1359:109145,1368:114890,1499:124754,1674:128056,1697:128916,1711:131056,1722:131992,1736:133000,1752:148074,1879:151860,1903:153160,1920:164833,2076:165372,2085:172032,2140:173579,2169:176855,2218:179403,2268:190390,2390:193978,2456:195148,2478:195616,2485:204588,2581:204968,2587:206412,2612:209148,2680:214760,2759:217420,2795:223440,2900:224210,2941:224700,2950:226590,2991:227080,2999:227710,3009:228340,3039:248528,3255:249620,3268:257068,3315:259876,3369:260266,3375:261358,3390:262138,3401:262762,3411:266872,3423:270020,3453:270790,3471:277980,3515:278548,3523:279116,3532:279542,3539:280394,3552:280749,3559:286003,3653:286713,3664:287423,3675:287849,3682:288559,3693:289127,3703:293474,3735:293828,3742:294064,3747:294536,3758:295008,3768:296778,3808:297781,3823:298430,3835:298843,3844:299256,3852:300731,3885:303880,3907
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Pamela Gunter-Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her mother's family background - part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her mother's family background - part 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her mother's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her father's family business

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her father's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her parents and how they met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about growing up as an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about growing up around a funeral home

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her childhood neighborhoods

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about growing up obscured from the typical racial tensions of the South

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her favorite musicians growing up, and her high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about accomplished African Americans in Nashville during her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her involvement in the church while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her decision to become a scientist

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her decision to attend Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pamela Gunter-Smith recalls the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her experience at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her science instruction at Spelman College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her favorite musicians and social activities in college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her experience at the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her decision to attend Emory University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her studies at Emory University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her Ph.D. dissertation, titled 'The Effect of Theophylline on Amphiuma Small Intestine'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her experience at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her experience at the University of Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her decision to join the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her career at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her professional activities and awards

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her transition into academic administration at Spelman College

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her work at Spelman College - part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her work at Spelman College - part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about funding challenges for historically black colleges in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about balancing her professional activities and research with her personal life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her work at the University of Miami

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her connections to Donna Shalala, Johnnetta Cole and Audrey Manley

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her role as provost of Drew University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her decision to leave Spelman College to join Drew University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her professional accomplishments at Drew University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about the challenges of being a woman in the work-force and her future career aspirations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her goals for Drew University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about the history of Drew University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Pamela Gunter-Smith reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Pamela Gunter-Smith shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Pamela Gunter-Smith describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about growing up around a funeral home
Pamela Gunter-Smith talks about her science instruction at Spelman College
Transcript
Do you have an earliest childhood memory?$$The earliest childhood memory that I have was a traumatic one was, the funeral--the apartment was up a very steep, long flight of steps, probably I don't know 15 steps and I remember fall--tumbling down to the bottom of them when I was probably about three. That's the earliest memory that I have. It's funny that, I guess it was very traumatic but I have other, lots of memories of you know working around you know deceased and bodies and things like that because I had, that's how I had my anatomy lessons when I was a kid.$$Okay, so this--I would think that this demystified you know the body and death and--$$Um-hmm, absolutely.$$Yeah. I think it would have to. So well, tell us about--since we're on the subject yeah tell us about that, you know what the--$$Growing up around a funeral home or--?$$Yeah, you said you had your first lessons in anatomy.$$So I was always you know there. We, and we always had cases when I was there many evenings. And it was generally in the evenings that they would embalm the bodies. And I re--my dad never had the stomach for it. He was actually the business manager for the place. My uncle who was the photographer was the artist and so if there was a, an accident, he would do all the make-up and the facial restoration. And my other uncle was the gregarious one. He was the one that was out in the public and waving and going around. But one of the memories I have is that we had had a case that was--and I was probably about five, a case that was a, had been opt, opt--I can't--blanking on the word, had an autopsy. It's not right but--and I remember my uncle calling me into the morgue and standing up on a stool and he lifts the top of the skull and then starts to explain to me where the brain stem goes down and all of that. And I was always very fascinated by human anatomy because, I guess because I had those kind of lessons. Little, sounds a little strange now but you know it was just what happened.$$Yeah. And it doesn't--so many people are superstitious and afraid, especially in those days. The further back you get it seems that there's more like fear and spookiness attached to a funeral home and the funeral process and death and that sort of thing.$$But I grew up there. I was there every afternoon, every morning. And the, for the photography business where they actually developed the films, the lab, you had to go through the morgue to get upstairs to where the lab was. So you would have to walk through there. I would have to carry things back and forth and they would be doing whatever they were doing.$$Now did you do any photography as a youth?$$I didn't. I didn't do any of that but I have a son who's a photographer.$$Okay. So he kind of took after your uncle in that regard.$$Um-hmm.$Oh I've forgotten his name but the college physician who was well known in Nashville [Tennessee] used to take me and my two roommates, he was a surgeon, into surgery with him. And so we would go into surgery and work with--you know see what he was doing and he would instruct us. So there were a lot of people that had helped to promote that, to give us those types of experiences. His name was--his name, last name was Clinton, fairly well known in Atlanta [Georgia]. No, Clint Warner, Clint Warner was his name.$$Warner, okay.$$Yeah.$$Okay, so he would let you all go to surgery with him?$$Yes. Yes, and so my two roommates are both physicians and he would take us into surgery with him and while they were going oh, wow this is great, I'm like okay, let's move on this is boring. Let's move on. But yeah he would. He would you know ask the patients, they would say okay and we would go into surgery with him.$$That's something, oh okay. So you're getting a pretty I mean a real first hand--$$I'm a very much--$$--in-depth--?$$--in-depth training. I stayed in Atlanta during the summer working with Bill LeFlore [ph.] who was also a faculty member and Bernard Smith on their research project. We had just gotten funding from the NIH [National Institutes of Health] to promote minority scientists, student scientists. Between my junior and my senior year, I actually went to Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory [private nonprofit marine and biological exploration research facility] which most students didn't do until they were graduate students or post-docs and that door was open for me by Bill LeFlore who himself two years earlier had gotten a fellowship to go do that. So I, you know I have a lot of people who have made the right doors and opportunities open for me. You don't get to where you are by yourself. A lot of experiences count towards that.$$Okay. Now was there a certain part of biology that you focused on in terms of--?$$Well there are a couple. One is that Bill Leflore taught comparative anatomy. It was the hurdle that you had to pass if you were going to graduate as a biology major. By the time we got to his class, we started out with a class of 40 biology majors. We had been whittled down to 12 and by the time we got down with--done with his class there were six of us left. You would do all different types of dissections of different types of preserved specimens and my roommates just wanted to get done, I enjoyed the process. So mine were always perfect and mine were the ones they would use for the exams. There was one time when we weren't quite ready for the exam so we decided that we would steal all of the animals and take them to the dormitory that we had dissected out. So we took the animals out of the labs so that we were going to--you know the security guards would open up the labs for us. We took it to the dorm thinking that we couldn't have the test the next day. Well his figuring out that the animals, the specimens were gone, he had quickly dissected something, they looked awful, they looked like cheese. You couldn't figure out anything. He had put pins in it and he never said a word, he just went on with it. That was you know how that was. So you know I remember that. The other thing that I remember was that the William Townsend Porter Foundation of which I am now on the board of directors, sponsored a class with the Emory University School of Medicine in physiology that was taught at Spelman. It was a senior level course. And there was the only African American female physiologist that I knew at the time. Her name was Eleanor Eisen Franklin, she was a Spelman alum. She was on the physiology faculty at Howard University School of Medicine and she was one of the people that came in to teach the course. And that was a wonderful course because it was essentially what the medical students had, first year medical students had at Emory.

Allen Sessoms

Physicist and education administrator Allen Lee Sessoms was born in 1946. He attended Union College in New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in physics in 1968. He then attended the University of Washington, where he obtained his M.S. degree in physics the following year. Sessoms went on to Yale University where he earned his Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in physics in 1971 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduate school work, Sessoms became a postdoctoral research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where he wrote computer programs and studied the production of quarks by high-energy protons at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1973, Sessoms was hired to work as a scientific associate at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN), where he researched quarks and similar particles. While at CERN, Sessoms became an assistant professor of physics at Harvard University. Sessoms moved to the U.S. State Department in 1980 as a senior technical advisor for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. From 1982 to 1987, Sessoms served as Director of the Office of Nuclear Technology and Safeguards in the same Bureau before becoming a Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs at the United States Embassy in Paris, France. Sessoms then traveled to Mexico, where he was a Minister-Counsel for Political Affairs at the United States Embassy before serving as its Deputy Chief of Mission, then the largest United States diplomatic mission in the world. In 1993, Sessoms left the United States State Department and began working as executive vice president at the University of Massachusetts system and also became its vice president for academic affairs. Following his time in Massachusetts, Sessoms was named president of Queens College, part of The City University of New York. Sessoms then spent time at Harvard University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and as a lecturer in public policy. From 2003 to 2008, Sessoms served as the ninth president of Delaware State University prior to his appointment as president of the University of the District of Columbia. He is also a consultant to the U.S. intelligence community.

Sessoms has received a Ford Foundation Travel and Study Grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has been bestowed two honorary doctorates from Union College and Soka University in Japan. Sessoms also received the Medal of Highest Honor from Soka University and the Seikyo Culture Award in Japan. In 1999, the Yale University Graduate School Association awarded him the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal and he was named the Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (“Officer of the Order of Academic Palms) in France.

Accession Number

A2012.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2012

Last Name

Sessoms

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Yale University

University of Washington

Union College

First Name

Allen

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SES01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Skiing In Switzerland

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/17/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Physicist and university president Allen Sessoms (1946 - ) served in many areas of the State Department before being hired as president of Delaware State University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Employment

University of the District of Columbia

Delaware State University

Harvard University

Queens College

United States Department of State

United States State Department

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Bureau of Oceans & International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Favorite Color

Magenta

Timing Pairs
0,0:1079,20:1411,25:1826,33:5312,126:7221,176:9130,202:10209,232:10707,239:14940,321:22470,379:22944,386:30240,498:30810,505:33660,564:38990,608:39694,622:42254,677:45679,723:49430,766:51880,832:54680,956:61104,1000:62406,1034:76940,1235:81295,1343:83180,1381:83635,1389:83895,1394:88740,1468:94600,1573:95704,1596:107372,1864:108188,1873:111540,1915:119310,2119:123460,2180:123956,2189:127552,2296:129908,2337:131334,2366:131706,2373:137666,2433:140040,2478$0,0:2228,44:2460,49:2982,59:5186,146:8898,252:9130,257:15290,346:15818,355:16082,360:16544,369:21392,416:21856,425:22320,432:22842,437:23132,443:23538,456:24002,466:26120,478:27523,515:29536,577:29780,595:31244,622:31610,630:34370,643:34710,649:35050,660:37022,720:37702,725:37974,730:41238,810:44815,841:45608,856:45974,863:46584,876:47011,885:51604,928:61080,1139:61360,1144:62506,1154:63370,1173:63802,1181:64522,1192:66222,1215:68078,1263:69818,1294:70224,1302:73750,1374:74400,1392:75500,1435:75700,1440:76200,1453:80184,1498:82230,1561:82560,1568:84408,1611:85926,1656:86652,1670:87114,1686:87444,1692:92090,1719:92330,1724:94310,1799:94850,1818:96110,1852:96470,1859:96710,1864:97010,1870:97430,1879:102240,1925:102704,1934:111497,1996:112476,2010:113277,2015:116125,2055:116748,2063:124313,2174:125988,2207:126524,2216:128668,2255:129137,2266:134370,2357:135994,2389:138570,2474:138794,2479:144987,2525:145540,2533:146172,2552:146883,2566:147357,2574:151230,2617:151602,2625:152842,2659:153834,2677:154082,2682:154764,2702:155322,2712:156748,2751:158360,2795:158608,2800:159786,2815:162762,2887:165552,2964:166296,2998:172625,3037:177638,3092:178523,3113:179349,3125:179703,3132:181768,3215:182063,3221:182417,3229:182712,3238:183715,3261:184010,3270:193266,3383:193707,3391:194085,3398:194337,3403:195030,3415:196668,3439:197235,3451:197991,3465:198999,3488:199440,3497:200196,3518:209854,3666:210174,3672:213260,3680:213890,3691:214268,3699:214898,3710:220450,3775:223318,3811:223573,3817:226174,3903:226480,3910:226786,3917:227245,3927:227449,3932:227857,3948:229922,3960:230648,3968:233285,3991:233709,4002:234080,4011:234292,4016:234557,4022:235140,4034:236412,4058:236624,4064:237313,4075:238320,4096:238532,4101:239062,4112:239327,4118:240281,4142:242348,4202:245690,4208:246392,4233:247094,4244:251798,4302:256434,4425:256922,4434:269360,4670:270680,4703:270920,4708:271280,4716:271640,4724:274230,4759
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allen Sessoms' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his mother's migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the African American migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about working at Lincoln Hospital, New York, during high school

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father's service in the military during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes how his parents met and his father's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes the apartment where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes the neighborhood where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his childhood summer activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's entrepreneurial activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his musical experience at Walter J. Damrosch Middle School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Walter J. Damrosch Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about his involvement with running track

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about his brother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the demographics of Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to attend Union College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Brookhaven National Labs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father being his hero

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the reactions to Dr. Martin Luther King's death, and the political climate of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his decision to return to the east coast to attend Yale University for his doctoral studies

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon race relations in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about his early days in New Haven, Connecticut in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Yale University, and talks about his first advisor, D. Alan Bromley

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about the poor science preparation at some HBCUs

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis advisor, Bob Adair

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis research on the structure-function of the K meson

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the lessons he learned at Yale University

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms talks about his post-doctoral experience at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and his opportunity to go to work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as a scientific associate at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his work in experimental particle physics on the Intersecting Storage Ring Collider (ISR) at CERN

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to accept an assistant professorship in the physics department at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about physicist, Richard Feynman

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Harvard University, and his interaction with notable scientists and faculty

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience as a Sloan Foundation Fellow, at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience with racial stereotyping while working at the U.S. State Department

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience while serving as a nuclear science advisor at the U.S. State Department in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the difference between the Carter and Reagan administrations' approach to nuclear weapons

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment of Scientific Affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms discusses the deficiencies in STEM education in schools today

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in mediating the argument between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier, on the discovery of HIV

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as the Minister and Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his transition from politics into higher education administration

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his work for the U.S. Foreign Service, and his experience at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about leaving the University of Massachusetts, and his decision to become the president of Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the long hours that are required to become a successful experimental physicist

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in establishing dormitories on the campus of Queens College, New York, while he was the president

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience in trying to establish a cancer and HIV research center at Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the merits of Queens College, and the diverse community of Queens, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about his departure from Queens College, and his decision to return to Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the Belford Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, and recollects the 9/11 attack

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his role as president of Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in strengthening the football and basketball teams at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his role in increasing funding for Ph.D. programs at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the shooting tragedy at Delaware State University in 2007

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about his efforts to increase the diversity of the student body and faculty at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms describes the problems faced by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks his work at the University of the District of Columbia, and the politics in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about the history, the diverse demographics, and the affordable tuition rates at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about STEM education efforts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the focus on international studies at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his tenure as the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise
Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations
Transcript
Seemed like I had a note about a French class that you were taking in college or something but is that--?$$Well I--$$You took German, I know that.$$I took German when I was in college. I taught myself French when I was in graduate school because in order to get a Ph.D., actually you had to, in order to be qualified to take a qualifying exam you know you had to be fluent in a second language, more or less fluent and you had to be able to read a third language. So I had English, my German was pretty good, I could read and write in German and I taught myself French so I could read in French. And that allowed me to pass the language qualifying exams so I could actually take the physics qualifying exam so I had the three languages. Nowadays you get by with computer programming or something which is kind of ridiculous but that preparation really was fantastic cause then I went to Geneva and I could speak French. And in two and a half years my French got pretty darn good and it was very helpful to me later on cause then when I joined the foreign service I went to the U.S. embassy in Paris [France], I didn't have to learn French, I knew French. But those things, that's a part of the scientific intellectual environment that I think that's somewhat missing in a lot of places. I mean the language piece is crucial. Science is international by definition. There's nothing that happens here that doesn't happen somewhere else and our collaborators are global. I mean when I was working in Geneva [Switzerland] for example, we had collaborators from thirty countries. When I was working at Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut], we had collaborators from maybe twp. Now if you're working at the LHC [Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland] you had collaborators from fifty! You know it's just the way it is. If you don't have the language facility and you don't sort of appreciate some of the different cultures you're not going to be successful in those environments because science now is such a global enterprise, certainly the big science of particle physics is that it's really a social enterprise. It's not the scientific enterprise where somebody back in the old days sits at a table with two or three graduate students and does something and those days have been long gone in physics. And you have to be in some sense the social sciences as well you have to understand social dynamics and being broadly cultural allows you to do that.$And the experience in Mexico--Mexico is the most important country in the world to the United States and I say that for a lot of reasons. One is what happens in Mexico happens here. I mean you take a look at what happened with the drug war. I think that reinforcing the border was one of the stupidest things we've done. But worst than that, creating this drug war where you--we do so well with interdicting and freezing assets that these guys who are doing the trafficking can't pay the porters who go through Mexico in cash. So what do they do? Pay them in drugs. And what do they do? They sell the drugs to the kids in Mexico. The whole thing just blows up. It just blew up and that's what we have now. We have this incredible mess on our hands cause nobody thought through the dynamics. What's also true is that if there's a catastrophe in Mexico which is now less and less likely than it used to be, you got 50 million Mexicans crossing the border all at once. What are you going to do about it? Nothing. They're just going to be over there. They're going to cross and that's going to be it. It is in our interest to make Mexico in every way we can a stable, prosperous country, period, cause nobody can affect us like Mexico can affect us, nobody. It's a country of 110 million people. Half the Mexicans, at least when I was there, half of them had U.S. passports or green cards. I mean they have families on both sides of the border. So the idea is to integrate, not to block and we're doing an incredibly bad job of that now. It's just a fiasco and you get this mess. You get--El Paso [Texas] being one of the most murderous places in the world. You got these other places on the border just like Durango [Colorado] and other places. You can't go out at night. You know you got, it's just horrible. It's horrible and that's what we're doing to ourselves.$$Okay.$$You'd never do that in the Canadian border. Why do you think? (Laughter).$$(Laughter). So, any other stories from Mexico? Now, a lot--, I know there are massive protests concerning NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] back in '93 [1993], '94 [1994] I guess.$$There were a lot of protests, I mean I remember when a certain congressman would sneak across the border and try to--with a camera crew show, all the bad stuff that was happening along the border in (unclear) and all the pollution, it's just kind of crazy stuff, and how it was going to take and (unclear) U.S. jobs. Well it turns out that it's produced 2 million jobs in the United States. It's been so successful the cost of labor in Mexico has gone up because of the standard of living going up. So the U.S. companies that were exporting jobs to Mexico are bringing those jobs back to the United States because Mexico is more prosperous and most of the costs of manufacturing a refrigerator for example is in the transportation so if you can manufacture the stuff close to the home and the wages are the same, you save more money. So NAFTA has worked, I mean it just had worked enormously well on the trade side. We need to try to do it more on the social side with--the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] for example for the first time we have, at Division II, agreed to have the Canadian and Mexican universities participate in U.S. intercollegiate athletics. It would have been unthinkable without having some significant integration. But still this is one place. North America is Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, that's North America. I mean it's geographically and culturally the same. Remember the, Mexico used to be Texas too and California, you know New Mexico and we don't seem to appreciate that as much as we should and I think it may have something to do with you know the language and the fact that a lot of these folks are dark skinned. I mean you know just, I don't mean to be pejorative but it's almost always something like that, something stupid. We need to embrace the Mexicans. When I was there we were doing interesting research in the Gulf of Baja, California looking at the--they just discovered these really hot vents at the bottom of the Baja. They would go down and they would find these animals, this fish life, this plant life that lived without sun, period. You know and it was just on the sulfur vents, then we found new kinds of metabolisms just by doing a collaborative research with the Mexicans, volcanic research when you know the Popocatepetl [volcano, Central Mexico] used to pop its cork. The collaborations between us and the Mexicans have been extraordinary and we got to really reinforce that. But it's, we'll see. I mean it's all politics. It's all driven by in some sense a lack of understanding of each other.$$Okay.

William Harvey

Dr. William R. Harvey is President of Hampton University and 100% owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan. A native of Brewton, Alabama, he is a graduate of Southern Normal High School and Talladega College. He earned his doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University in 1972. Before coming to Hampton thirty-two years ago, he held administrative posts at Harvard, Fisk, and Tuskegee universities.

Since Dr. Harvey became President in 1978, student enrollment has increased from approximately 2,700 to approximately 6,300. Seventy-six new academic programs have been introduced including PhD’s in physics, pharmacy, nursing, atmospheric and planetary science, and physical therapy. During that time, he has built 18 new buildings. Dr. Harvey initiated a university-owned commercial development consisting of a shopping center and 246 two-bedroom apartments. The Project creates jobs, provides services, has increased the number of African-American entrepreneurs, and expanded the tax base in the City of Hampton.

His achievements have been recognized through inclusion in Personalities of the South, Who’s Who in the South and Southeast, Who’s Who in Black America, Who’s Who in Education, International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Two Thousand Notable Americans, Who’s Who in Business and Finance, and Who’s Who in America.

Dr. Harvey is married to the former Norma Baker of Martinsville, Virginia, and they have three children—Kelly Renee, William Christopher, and Leslie Denise—and three grandchildren—Taylor, Gabrielle, and Lauren.

William R. Harvey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 14, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.031

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2010

Last Name

Harvey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Organizations
Schools

Southern Normal School

Talladega College

Virginia State University

Harvard Graduate School of Education

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Brewton

HM ID

HAR31

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

The Bottom Line.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

1/29/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

University president William Harvey (1941 - ) was a highly lauded educational administrator and served as the president of Hampton University for over three decades.

Employment

Hampton University

Fisk University

Tuskegee University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:312,2:858,15:1638,26:2028,32:2808,44:3978,68:4368,74:6240,119:6552,124:10218,204:13689,258:14234,264:15215,281:16523,303:17395,320:20570,342:21995,364:22745,376:23045,381:26205,409:28330,461:29265,478:32835,592:33515,601:34535,618:41938,702:42350,707:44610,731:51410,886:51730,891:52210,898:57090,949:57378,954:57810,961:58170,966:59610,989:61914,1048:64146,1108:64938,1133:69656,1184:71714,1212:73086,1251:74262,1269:75242,1283:75928,1292:79766,1317:80222,1324:81818,1343:82806,1360:83262,1367:85284,1379:85950,1414:87578,1459:90715,1483:91565,1495:93690,1525:94285,1537:95135,1549:96070,1561:100360,1600:101170,1610:101620,1616:102340,1626:103150,1636:103600,1642:107252,1687:107772,1694:113460,1753:113860,1759:114260,1765:116100,1798:117380,1824:122291,1880:124139,1908:124447,1953:128800,1979$0,0:708,7:5760,76:7152,89:12259,133:12923,142:17104,204:23456,283:23960,290:27740,356:28580,368:31220,385:31520,390:35280,428:37308,471:37854,479:38556,489:38868,494:39180,499:39726,511:40272,520:40584,525:42534,551:43704,594:44562,611:45030,618:48476,654:49029,665:49819,675:51241,697:51794,705:53058,736:54243,759:54638,765:56613,821:62182,869:62490,874:62952,882:66802,950:67418,959:67957,966:69189,994:73897,1037:74810,1050:75889,1059:76885,1079:80620,1139:81201,1147:84272,1209:90120,1275:92164,1314:92602,1322:92967,1331:93259,1336:93551,1341:94135,1350:95449,1379:95814,1388:96325,1396:99172,1442:100559,1492:104946,1532:113406,1686:117448,1756:119913,1767:122825,1819:125828,1887:127830,1918:133808,1973:134981,1998:136016,2022:136706,2033:138224,2058:142019,2146:142571,2155:142985,2162:146250,2172:146894,2181:148734,2205:150206,2236:150666,2242:151126,2248:155630,2275:156350,2288:156638,2293:157286,2310:160886,2385:161246,2391:161894,2406:166430,2503:167582,2535:169814,2590:176214,2628:176729,2634:177450,2643:177862,2648:181080,2679:181446,2686:183520,2759:183825,2765:184374,2777:186440,2822
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Harvey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Harvey lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Harvey describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Harvey talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Harvey describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Harvey remembers his father's civil rights activism

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Harvey talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Harvey describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Harvey describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Harvey talks about his uncle's barber shop in Brewton, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Harvey remembers his family's defiance of southern segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Harvey describes the Southern Normal School in Brewton, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Harvey talks about the history of the Southern Normal School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Harvey describes his experiences at the Southern Normal School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Harvey talks about the discipline at the Southern Normal School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Harvey recalls his start as a civil rights activist

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Harvey remembers his father's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Harvey recalls his experiences at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Harvey remembers his civil rights activism at Talladega College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Harvey remembers his civil rights activism at Talladega College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Harvey recalls his decision to join the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Harvey describes his experiences in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Harvey describes his experiences in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Harvey remembers the influence of Edgar Toppin, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Harvey remembers the influence of Edgar Toppin, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Harvey describes his master's thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Harvey remembers the Harvard University Graduate School of Education

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Harvey recalls his decision to work at historically black colleges

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Harvey remembers restructuring the governance of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Harvey describes his philosophy of higher education administration

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Harvey talks about the importance of standards in higher education

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Harvey describes the policy review process at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William Harvey describes the commitment to service at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Harvey talks about his fundraising strategies as the president of Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Harvey describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Harvey recalls President Barack Obama's commencement address at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Harvey reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. William Harvey reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Harvey talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Harvey describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
William Harvey talks about the discipline at the Southern Normal School
William Harvey describes the policy review process at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia
Transcript
I know there's difference today between the discipline model in the black colleges [HBCUs] and certainly in a boarding high school. Was there, was there like a very strict, was the discipline very, very strict there at, at?$$The discipline was very strict. There were, there were standards, there were rules there were regulations. And the staff the teacher and others made sure that we adhered to them. I think that, you know, all of us are products of our training and our experience. One of the things that I do now here at Hampton [Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia] is to try to maintain standards. In a world where a lot of standards are going by the wayside, some people don't like it, some people do. But, for an example here at Hampton we don't allow fellas to wear du rags, we don't allow them to wear the undershirt, the wife beater shirts. We don't allow them to walk around with the pants hanging below the butts, you know. Some people said when you correct them, well that's my heritage, no, it's not your heritage and we just don't allow it. And we don't mind you going somewhere else, if you're gonna be here, you can't do that. Well, that's the kind of school that Southern Normal School [Brewton, Alabama] was. It had standards, it had rules, it had rules of conduct. And one of the things that it did was to reinforce my own family values. My mother [Claudis Parker Harvey] and father [W.D.C. Harvey] really preached to us about discipline, about honesty and integrity, respect for other, respect for oneself and responsible action. They always used to say that, everybody makes mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, but what we got to do is to, if we make a mistake own up to it. Correct it and move forward. And I think that, that has helped me as well. So, based on my upbringing at home and the schooling at Southern Normal, not only the intellectual aspect but the fact that it, it had standards. And I think that, that's a good thing.$As you approach it now, do, do you--does--do the school administrators here periodically review I guess policy in terms of you know, changing times and?$$We do it all the time. We have two meetings a, a week with the full administration, full cabinet. That's Tuesday afternoon and Friday mornings and our, our bylaws and charter gives the administrative council the authority to, to make policy as, and that's internal to the university. And we do that all the time. Because everybody that sits around that table is over something here at Hampton University [Hampton, Virginia]. And we've made, we've made policy changes, we've, we've done a lot of things. I also meet once a month with the student leaders. And we made a lot of changes by getting the input from the student leaders. Once a month I meet with the faculty. I'm the chairman of the faculty. They will have an opportunity to not only hear what I've got to say but to ask me any question when I finish my opening remarks I always say without a doubt, "Are there any questions of anything that I have said or questions that I have not said?" So, we don't have a, a, a faculty senate or a representative body that represents the faculty. Every faculty member can come in the faculty meeting, and ask the chairman a question. The same is true when we have the town hall meetings with the students. And then with the student leaders, we meet with them once a month. And there are a lot of things that we have done, even some of the, the buildings that we have built. We've gotten input as to what we wanted. When we built the new student center, the students said that they wanted an indoor track, they wanted a offices for, for all of them in one place rather than being scattered around the campus, they wanted a ball room, they wanted a food court, they wanted a theatre. They've got all of those things. We incorporated what they wanted, which goes back to my philosophy of shared authority. People that have to live with decisions ought to have input into the decision making process. Again it doesn't mean that their will shall prevail, but they input in to the decision making process. That has worked well. Now, I am sure that there are those that might think that Hampton is too strict because as I said earlier we don't allow du rags on campus. We don't allow the wife beater shirts. We don't allow people to walk around with the pants below the butt. And, and there may be those who say that because of those rules that they ought to have a right to walk around showing their underwear. We don't think so. And if there are those who think that, we tell them not to do it, and if they really want to do it, there are a lot of other institutions that they can go to where they can do that. But, they can't do it here at Hampton.

Harrison B. Wilson

University President and College Basketball Coach Harrison B. Wilson was born on April 21, 1925 and is a native of Amsterdam, New York. Wilson is the fifth of seven siblings. His mother was a school teacher and his father worked in construction. Wilson served in the United States Navy from 1945 until 1947, when he enrolled at Kentucky State University at the age of nineteen. There he received his B.S. degree, was an honor student and a star athlete in basketball, football, baseball and track.

In the early 1950s Wilson received his M.A. degree and his D.H.S. in health science and administration from Indiana University. Between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-nine, Wilson worked as a professor, administrator and coach at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University). Wilson was the head basketball coach from 1951 to 1960. He then became chairman of the Department of Health and Physical Education from 1960 until 1967. Additionally, he became chairman and professor of health and physical education at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee that same year as well. Wilson then briefly worked at Fisk University as the assistant to the President of Fisk before being named President of Norfolk State University in 1975. During Wilson’s term at Norfolk, which spanned over three decades from 1975 until 1997, Norfolk State University’s annual budget increased from $14 million to $86 million, enrollment increased from 6,700 students to 8,100 students, and the number of faculty and staff has grown from 377 to 412, with a student-faculty ratio of twenty-two-one. The University also added fourteen new buildings and acquired fifty-one acres of land during Wilson’s tenure.

Upon his retirement in 1997, Wilson was honored by Old Dominion University as one of their Strong Men and Women Excellence in Leadership series. Wilson is active in a number of boards and organizations, including the board of directors of Virginia National Bank, the lay advisory board of DePaul Hospital, the Virginia State Advanced Council on Vocational Education, and the board of directors of the Virginia Health, Welfare, and Recreation Planning Council. Wilson is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu fraternity.

Wilson is married to Dr. Lucy Wilson, and he is the father of six children.

Harrison B. Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 11, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.012

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/11/2010 |and| 5/13/2010

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

B.

Organizations
Schools

Kentucky State University

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Harrison

Birth City, State, Country

Amsterdam

HM ID

WIL51

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saratoga, New York

Favorite Quote

God Bless America.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

4/21/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chesapeake

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ham, Chicken

Short Description

University president and college basketball coach Harrison B. Wilson (1925 - ) was president of Norfolk State University in Virginia. He was also on the board of directors of Virginia National Bank.

Employment

Jackson State University

Tennessee State University

Fisk University

Norfolk State University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1860,21:2400,29:13260,183:15220,262:19575,292:19900,298:22286,331:30750,483:31170,490:31520,496:32010,505:35160,572:35650,580:36770,590:37190,599:39150,688:39920,703:41740,743:42440,778:47738,819:48054,824:48370,829:50661,887:54848,968:56270,1003:64446,1064:66326,1118:68206,1137:71918,1169:72380,1180:72688,1185:78260,1231:78592,1236:78924,1241:80003,1262:82645,1282:85360,1297:86618,1324:92538,1447:94018,1469:100140,1519:100770,1528:102765,1551:103185,1556:106800,1567:107262,1575:107526,1580:108186,1593:115050,1709:115370,1714:115930,1723:116330,1746:125018,1832:128915,1882:130229,1911:135634,1971:141166,2041:142654,2067:143119,2073:147154,2100:149848,2131:151430,2149:154844,2179:158436,2208:160637,2220:162281,2240:164768,2302:176699,2408:177007,2415:179884,2458:181158,2476:182068,2487:184622,2498:185980,2506:186400,2519:186890,2527:187590,2540:188010,2547:188360,2553:188640,2558:188920,2563:194274,2608:195066,2617:198754,2633:205334,2711:205880,2719:207752,2753:209468,2786:214628,2858:216266,2898:219886,2931:220616,2944:220908,2949:221730,2959$0,0:1540,75:10638,193:19162,337:29942,542:33568,597:33960,602:38930,643:41102,665:44885,735:46631,776:57239,884:58360,910:59186,937:63480,989:63820,994:65350,1045:67390,1079:67815,1085:69260,1136:69600,1141:71130,1209:80356,1315:84951,1345:85644,1362:87030,1380:87471,1392:87723,1397:90380,1411:94748,1483:97590,1496:109696,1606:110116,1612:110704,1621:115324,1719:115996,1734:133155,1945:133755,1982:137880,2027:138855,2044:140130,2079:140505,2085:141330,2099:146205,2228:152810,2283
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harrison B. Wilson's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal great-grandfather, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal great-grandfather, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal great-grandfather, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal grandfather's life after the Civil War

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his father's inheritance

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his mother's family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his paternal uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his father's move to Amsterdam, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his early years in Amsterdam, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson describes the president's house at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his father

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Amsterdam, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School in Amsterdam, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers the influence of Joe Louis

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls boxing throughout his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his father's discovery of his boxing activities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his reckless teenage behavior

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls his competition with classmate Rocco Petrone

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers being denied from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls joining the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about serving at Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Hawaii

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his service as a corpsman

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers working as a surgical assistant

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers visiting the South, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers visiting the South, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Kentucky State College for Negroes in Frankfort, Kentucky

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being hired at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Jackson State College

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers meeting a Chicago Bears football player

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson describes how his college work prepared him for Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about changes in Mississippi collegiate sports

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about Medgar Evers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being arrested in Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Medgar Evers' personality

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls the civil rights activities in Mississippi

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls leaving Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers becoming reacquainted with Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers becoming reacquainted with Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls proposing to Lucy R. Wilson

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers marrying Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being hired at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about Walter S. Davis

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers marrying Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls negotiating his wife's salary, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls negotiating his wife's salary, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his work at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers the speakers at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University and Fisk University

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his duties at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers buying his home in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers buying his home in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being hired at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls his first impression of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his work at Fisk University

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls the support of his wife

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his challenges at Fisk University

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls his interviews for university president positions

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his qualifications for university president

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers vying for the presidency at Norfolk State University, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers vying for the presidency at Norfolk State University, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his leadership of the Norfolk State University board

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his friendship with Virginia Governor Mills Godwin

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his father's legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his early work as president of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the president's home at Norfolk State University

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his political moves as Norfolk State University president, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his political moves as Norfolk State University president, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers improvements he made at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the athletic facility at Norfolk State University, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the athletic facility at Norfolk State University, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his fighting background

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$9

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Harrison B. Wilson remembers his early years in Amsterdam, New York
Harrison B. Wilson recalls the support of his wife
Transcript
Now, can you kind of tell us what the neighborhood--you, you said you grew up in an Italian neighborhood basically in Amsterdam.$$Yeah.$$Yeah what, what kind of housing was there and what was the neighborhood like.$$(Laughter) Well that's, that's an interesting story. They were usually the worst house in that community. We--my mother [Marguerite Ayers Wilson] had to, and I'm growing up I'm a little kid, I'm, I'm living wherever, wherever we moved to. But what I found that my mother would take the house whatever it was and beautify it (laughter).$$So you lived in several different places?$$Several, you had to move when they (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And this is, just so people viewing this will understand this is during the Depression right when you were--?$$Right, during the Depression.$$Yeah, you were five years old, old I guess--$$Well, let's say--$$--or four or five when the Great Depression hit.$$Yeah.$$Yeah.$$And, and you have to look at, look at what I'm seeing through my eyes too; that's the other thing. And what I'm seeing is my father [Harrison Wilson, Sr.] being respected in that community, Italian community where you had Italian people who were just over from Italy. They were immigrants. They were clannish. They were friends. They were Catholics, and they would have a vineyard that they'd build like they had in Italy and on Sundays the old guys would get under there and drink their wine that they, that they made. They made wine. And they had a Italian spaghetti, and what you call pizza today was a poor man's food because what they did the mother would, would bake bread and they had vegetables and she'd cook tomatoes and she'd throw whatever they had on that piece of bread and the kids ate that. We used to laugh at them when I first saw that, and then I got nerve enough to taste it and it was good. It was good. And then later, you know years later, that was pizza. You know, I don't know how many will admit that, but that's, that's, that's the Amsterdam, New York, story. And anyway, my father had the great respect of, of the Italian people, and I can tell you why because he worked hard, he loved his family and protected them, and loved my mother. My mother ran, ran the house. My father thought he was in charge, but my mother was always in charge. And it was amazing how he changed. Even my father changed from being somewhat--coming from a family where he had everything to having a family during the Depression years. My father, people won't believe this, but my father would walk five miles in snow to catch a ride to go to a job thirteen miles away. My father was a bricklayer. He was a plasterer. He was, he, he cleaned up. He started with a job, if it was a matter of working on the foundation he did that. And when, if the matter--you needed a man to plaster he could do that. He could lay brick. They didn't have unions then. And then he'd clean up the area around it.$Lucy [Wilson's second wife, HistoryMaker Lucy R. Wilson] helped me with my speeches. Matter of fact she wrote my speeches for me and, and when, when, when I got to be president of the univer- here [Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia] she wrote all my speeches. Of course, I paid her, I paid her. I, I got somebody to mop the floors and did all that and so she didn't have to do that, that was my way of paying her and I'm joking for the sake of the record (laughter). She would kill me if I left here, but I wouldn't. No she's, she's steady the, the woman behind me. I, and I would tell people. I'd give a speech and tell them about her and how she came to my aid. A lot of people thought all the children were hers. They thought we'd been married all those years, and I, I didn't, I didn't feel right not letting them know what, what I did or what we did, and they shocked. Every Sunday we were at our church that we went to, we took a whole pew. And when this little baby girl [April Wilson Woodard] came, I had those four boys and one bigger girl that was three years old [Jennifer Wilson], but I had that little baby girl I had to carry it in, in the church, not to the church, in the church and I'd hold her for a few minutes, and when she'd started crying I'd give her to her mother. But anyway it was, it was, if I'd ever had any bad luck or any, any, anybody had ever done anything that was distasteful or hateful to me growing up or any, anywhere in my life, I felt like my, the Lord, and I, and I believe in God, pointed out who I should marry. I didn't know--you know, you never know for sure, but I'm telling you she--and I embarrass her a little bit saying this--but she was, she was just something special. She, the only way I could say it as if she was 6'9" and you were counting on her to make the NBA [National Basketball Association] and in her first year she made the All-Stars and, and took you to the national championship or, or the pro championship, well that was Lucy.$$She's the Magic Johnson of marriage (laughter).$$She, she was Magic Johnson of my life.$$Okay.$$And because--$$Now, now, now let's see, let me--$$All right go ahead.$$--let me get you to--$$And I'm gonna try to talk a little, little less and answer quickly and stop.

Dolores R. Spikes

Esteemed college professor and mathematician Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes was born on August 24, 1936 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Margaret and Lawrence Richard. She received her elementary and high school education by attending Baton Rouge’s parochial and public school systems. Throughout her youth, Spikes’ parents strongly advocated the value of a college education and upon her enrollment at Southern University in 1954, her father volunteered for overtime hours at his job to help pay for her expenses. She went on to earn her B.S. degree in mathematics in 1957 from Southern University where she was initiated as a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and met her future husband, Hermon Spikes.

After graduating, Spikes moved to Urbana, Illinois and pursued her M.S. degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing her master’s degree, Spikes gained a passion for teaching and decided that she would give back to her community by teaching at a historically black college. In 1958, she returned to Louisiana and accepted a teaching position at Mossville High School in Calcasien Parish. While serving in that capacity, Spikes helped to improve the school’s ratings by introducing independent study programs. Then, in 1961, she returned to her alma mater, Southern University, and served as an assistant professor of mathematics.

In 1971, Spikes made history by becoming the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Louisiana State University. She went on to serve as the chancellor for Southern University-Baton Rouge and Southern University-New Orleans in the late 1980s. Spikes was the first female chancellor (and later, president) of a public university in the State of Louisiana. She was then appointed as a board member of Harvard University’s Institute of Educational Management in 1987, and in 1988, she made history once again when she was appointed as president of Southern University and the A&M College System, becoming the first woman in the United States to head a university system. Later, in 1996, Spikes became the president of the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore where she served until 2001.

Spikes has received numerous awards and recognitions for her accomplishments in academia, including: the Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement Award and Ebony Magazine’s “Most Influential Black Women in America.” She has also served on the board of advisors for historically black colleges and universities; the board of directors for Education Commission of the States; and the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities.

Spikes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 27, 2008.

Spikes passed away on June 1, 2015.

Accession Number

A2008.065

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/27/2008

Last Name

Spikes

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Schools

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

McKinley Senior High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Louisiana State University

First Name

Dolores

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

SPI02

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere With Libraries

Favorite Quote

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

8/24/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

6/1/2015

Short Description

Math professor and university president Dolores R. Spikes (1936 - 2015 ) served as the president of the Southern University System, and was the first woman in the United States to head a university system. She also served as the president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore from 1996 to 2001.

Employment

Southern University at Baton Rouge

Southern University at New Orleans

Southern University System

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7368,181:24722,385:25182,391:25826,399:28310,446:34804,529:35614,540:37072,625:42985,688:45658,738:52050,795:56691,917:57146,923:74926,1115:82758,1236:88988,1436:109637,1867:110135,1874:110467,1879:115530,1982:116692,1996:138328,2255:142934,2307:157530,2485:174522,2672:183300,2786:191470,2843:199570,3014:205960,3124:206320,3129:206860,3136:215555,3190:223080,3296:230100,3410:230730,3420:232080,3436:245610,3614:246942,3646:254360,3729:255848,3741:259678,3782:265100,3828:265835,3836:271424,3921:271816,3926:272894,3940:273384,3947:280920,4002:298898,4188:299584,4200:310830,4360:313786,4374:314425,4384:317549,4432:320588,4460:320852,4465:322700,4500:323670,4505$0,0:832,16:13190,121:32910,435:33275,441:34443,459:35392,474:35684,480:36268,490:48240,667:61092,853:61428,858:76878,983:77808,1026:87994,1188:91895,1280:92393,1287:92725,1292:93057,1297:93555,1304:93887,1309:100195,1464:100610,1470:106123,1490:121548,1701:122156,1711:129029,1732:129503,1739:130451,1757:137956,1879:138904,1894:139694,1907:148700,2064:158226,2171:169952,2300:191620,2574:210091,2842:210506,2848:215024,2891:215372,2897:216155,2907:223169,2967:244612,3195:245200,3203:257490,3378:260390,3414:262350,3454:270889,3521:276860,3631
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dolores R. Spikes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her family's surname

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her family's work in the construction industry

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her likeness to her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about the culture of South Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her Native American ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her paternal family's practice of voodoo, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her paternal family's practice of voodoo, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about the Creole language

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers the impact of urban renewal in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls the demolition of St. Francis Xavier High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls the demolition of St. Francis Xavier High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her early social activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her paternal family's musical legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her time at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers Southern University President Felton Grandison Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about Louisiana's historically black colleges

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls Felton Grandison Clark's departure from Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her activities at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her experiences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her living situation at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her decision to return to graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her experiences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her the subject of her dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her mathematical influences

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her ambition to become a mathematician

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her transition to higher education administration

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her vice chancellorship of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her chancellorship of Southern University at New Orleans

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spike remembers becoming president of the Southern University System

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls her challenges at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her separation agreement with the Southern University System

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls negotiating a consent decree to integrate Louisiana's public universities, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls negotiating a consent decree to integrate Louisiana's public universities, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the engineering and physics programs at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about the funding of graduate programs at historically black universities

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the challenges facing higher education organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes recalls being offered the presidency of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her presidency of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes remembers her decision to retire

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dolores R. Spikes describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dolores R. Spikes describes the Head Start program at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dolores R. Spikes talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dolores R. Spikes reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dolores R. Spikes describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dolores R. Spikes narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Dolores R. Spikes recalls her experiences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dolores R. Spike remembers becoming president of the Southern University System
Transcript
First day I walked into one of my classes at LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], I sat sort of in the middle where I could see the board well and I could hear well. There was nobody--I was the only African American in that room. Nobody sitting in front of me, nobody sitting right behind me, and nobody sitting directly on either side of me. I remember it was quite obvious that they weren't (laughter)--I mean it was so obvious. But it didn't bother me. I had made it known that look, I've got a Ford Foundation fellow [Ford Foundation fellowship] for three years. I'm gonna get a Ph.D. in three years. I don't have time to linger around. I'm, you know, my business is to study math.$$Now, now what year is this, and--$$This is 1968.$$Okay, now how long had there been black students at LSU at this point do you think? What--about maybe three years?$$Oh, there had been--no, there had black students since, oh, earlier than that. I imagine in the late '50s [1950s] 'cause my neighbor across the street who's deceased now was there for her master's [degree] in one of the vocational programs. But he was shot at and everything else.$$Okay, so it wasn't easy.$$No. No, no, no.$$But he, he was--but they were there before--$$Yes.$$--you. 'Cause you know like we hear, we, you know, many have seen this story, you know, pictures of George Wallace in the door, State of Alabama.$$Yeah, yeah. Oh--$$Other people trying to integrate the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia], you know, [HistoryMaker] Charlayne Hunter-Gault.$$Yeah, yeah.$$Other, other--you know, real big struggles trying to--$$Um-hm.$$So there was a struggle here at LSU?$$Absolutely a struggle at LSU.$$Here in Baton Rouge [Louisiana], same city that Southern's [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College] in.$$Same city.$$And people were shot at and--$$Yes, indeed. They were shot at and discouraged and everything else. It took a strong, strong willed person to go through that. But I was the first one to--first African American to get a Ph.D. in mathematics from there. They didn't have anybody to get a degree in that area before. So I was an oddity in that respect I guess. So--but, but there were good people there too. I mean there were enough faculty members who were really nice, good people who weren't racist or anything, who helped me. Who told me, "Don't go to this instructor. You know, stay away from this person." And because you know, they knew that they would not treat me fairly. And, and that was good. And my major professors were, were excellent and they helped me out a lot. But when we had our first test in this class, a teacher'd given us back our papers and as I found out later, he was really one of the good guys. And everybody was trying to lean over to see what I had made on the test. (Laughter) Well it turned out that I had the highest score I believe than anybody in the class. And so the next time I went to class, I had people right--sitting right in front, right on each side and in the back. All of a sudden the stereotype had been broken down by one test score. And so black women can learn mathematics, you know. It's something that just occurred to them. So anyway they--from then on it was a matter of, you know they wanted me to come to functions they had. But the truth was I was limited in interacting with them because I was a homemaker too and I was a mother [to Rhonda Spikes Brown]. And I, and I really didn't have time to socialize. By the time I got through with my, my studies and all, there just wasn't any time left. And even then, I was hardly sleeping at night. Wasn't enough hours in the day. So when I, when it got around to--this was during the period in which I had told you that in '71 [1971] I was winding down on my dissertation and my father [Lawrence Granville Richard] passed away. And that really set me back a semester or so. But come the end of the summer, I had finished the dissertation completely. And all I had to do was to type it. So it was being typed during the fall semester. And I marched across that stage in December of 1971, and was awarded the doctor of philosophy in mathematics. But by that time it didn't mean as much to me anymore. I realized then that maybe I was doing this for my father who had missed out on something that was within his reach had he been given the opportunity. And so it was just another credential for me to go to work.$And, but then I came to a board meeting in Baton Rouge [Louisiana] in 1989, and little did I know that I would walk away from that meeting with an offer of presidency of Southern University [Southern University System]. Seemed like they fired the then-president [Joffre T. Whisenton] like on the spot. Asked him to leave right on the spot. He was a nice fellow, I liked him, he was good. I think what happened was that some of his close associates really undermined his work, which was unfortunate. And he, so he said, "Well Dolores [HistoryMaker Dolores R. Spikes], if anybody's going to take my place, I'd feel better if you took it." And so I, I felt better about entertaining the notion, but I told them I needed to go home and talk to my husband [Hermon Spikes] first. So I did. But as is the case usually with Southern University, there's some politics involved. Fellow named Buddy Roemer was the governor. Seems that Buddy holds the idea that he wanted to have Huel Perkins [HistoryMaker Huel D. Perkins] for president and that I could be chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus [Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana]. I said well, "Joe," that's the chairman of the board was Joe Charra [ph.]. I said, "Joe," when he called with that notion that night, I said, "now I'm, I'm not--I'm happy at New Orleans [Southern University at New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana]. I'm not asking for either one of these positions. But the problems are all here on the Baton Rouge campus, and the only way I'm gonna solve them--." You got money problems, the campus was in financial exigency, the faculty was on the verge of an explosion because the board had allowed at that time salary increases for the system officers. And you just don't do that if you've got financial exigency on any one of your campuses. And the third thing was that there was an inspector general who was finding all sorts of wrongdoing on the campus, with some people even being arrested. And two years from then there was a Southern Association [Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] for accreditation visit coming up within in two years. I said, "Now with all of that going on, I'll take the Baton Rouge campus if you're gonna give me the same salary or more that you're gonna give Huel Perkins." "Well we can't do that Dolores. He's the president." I said, "Yeah, but I'm the work horse that you want and so I'm just telling you that, you know, I don't mind. Get anybody you want for the job. But that's it. So--and it's fine with me, you know, I really--if, if that's the way the governor and you all want," I said, "I'm, I'm fine at New Orleans. We're doing fine there." Getting fat with these people bringing me big cinnamon rolls and po' boys every day (laughter), but, but we're getting along fine. So the next--I kind of figured, you know, that they were gonna go along with the governor. So the next morning they called me, the board called me back for an executive session. So they said, "We want to offer you the presidency of Southern University." I said, "Will you also delay appointment of a chancellor to the Baton Rouge campus because what you really want me to do is to clean up this mess on the Baton Rouge campus. And you can't put somebody in between my doing this and, you know, and getting the job done right." So they said, "You will be chancellor for a couple of years if you want to be as well." So I held both positions.$$Now this is 19--$$This is 1989--$$--eighty-nine [1989] (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) to 1991 in which I held both positions.

Joyce F. Brown

University president Dr. Joyce F. Brown was born on July 7, 1947 in New York City. Brown attended New York City Catholic schools. She later attended Marymount College where she earned her B.A. degree in psychology in 1968. Following her undergraduate education, Brown enrolled in New York University, earning her M.A. degree in counseling psychology in 1971 and her Ph.D. in 1980. Brown worked at Borough of Manhattan Community College while simultaneously receiving her advanced degrees in counseling psychology. She served as Director of Instructional Testing and Research, Coordinator of Community Education Projects and the Director of Paraprofessional Teacher Education Program during her tenure at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

In 1983, Brown married civic leader H. Carl McCall. That same year, she was hired as Dean at Bernard M. Baruch College of The City University of New York, where she was in charge of Urban Affairs until 1987. Her other positions at The City University of New York included Acting President of Bernard M. Baruch College; Vice Chancellor for Urban Affairs and Development and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Urban Programs. In 1987, Brown served on the commission for the Task Force report, The Black Family in New York State: Current Crisis/Recent Trends. That same year, she became the Director of Boys Harbor Inc., an organization that was established to empower children through education, cultural enrichment and social services. In 1990, Brown earned a certificate from the Educational Management Institute at Harvard University. In 1993, she was appointed Deputy Mayor for Public and Community Affairs by then Mayor David Dinkins during his re-election. After Dinkin’s mayoral loss in 1994, Brown became a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Graduate School for The City University of New York from 1994 to 1998, where she continues to serve as professor emerita.

In 1998, Brown was the first African American and first woman to be appointed as the President of the Fashion Institute of Technology, a specialized college of art and design in New York City. Brown is a member of several boards and institutions including Linens-N-Things, Polo Ralph Lauren, Neuberger Berman, Paxar Corporation, the United States Enrichment Corporation, member of the Warm Up America Foundation, former trustee of Marymount College, and a former member of the Metropolitan Chapter of The Links.

Joyce Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.188

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/26/2007

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Marymount University

New York University

Our Lady of Lourdes School

Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRO45

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

What’s The Bottom Line?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/7/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

University president Joyce F. Brown (1947 - ) was the first African American president of the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was the former dean, acting president and Vice Chancellor for Urban Affairs and Development at Baruch College; and the former Deputy Mayor for Public and Community Affairs of New York City.

Employment

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Bernard M. Baruch College of The City University of New York

New York City Public and Community Affairs

City University of New York

Fashion Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1870,72:6035,146:6630,156:7310,165:7650,170:8415,182:8755,187:12198,207:13877,234:14972,250:15264,255:15994,266:22491,428:23513,445:27060,451:28092,465:28866,476:31102,511:31876,521:37270,553:38764,577:39345,585:39843,593:40507,603:43495,662:44242,674:48608,717:49557,748:51017,775:52039,791:53061,807:53645,816:55105,849:55762,865:57441,898:59412,938:59996,957:60507,977:62770,1015:63354,1025:65398,1084:65763,1090:66274,1107:73180,1165:73817,1175:74181,1181:83808,1235:97576,1458:98122,1467:102880,1552:103426,1560:104050,1570:110123,1606:110609,1613:113201,1674:120912,1733:123670,1742:124170,1748:125570,1765:129190,1818:135691,1920:136472,1942:137537,1965:137963,1973:138602,1988:141016,2048:141371,2055:142294,2073:143217,2091:144282,2124:144708,2131:146199,2153:146625,2160:149966,2186:152532,2219:152796,2224:156476,2275:157804,2295:158136,2300:160875,2357:161539,2368:162452,2383:162784,2388:163448,2398:163863,2409:164278,2415:170794,2463:171198,2469:171602,2474:172208,2481:172612,2486:179999,2531:181943,2575:182510,2584:182996,2591:183320,2596:185426,2682:187289,2741:201091,2909:204500,2950:205340,2966:205620,2971:206110,2979:207790,3022:208490,3033:209330,3047:212060,3098:212410,3108:212830,3115:217672,3131:218680,3146:221872,3200:228570,3273:231645,3336:234670,3354:235318,3363:236290,3374:239310,3395:239735,3401:242200,3446:243220,3461:244835,3496:249340,3530:249977,3540:251797,3565:252980,3581:265890,3738:266436,3747:272442,3863:273144,3874:275250,3896:281644,3945:281920,3950:282541,3960:284266,3992:285922,4021:287026,4041:287371,4051:288475,4082:288820,4088:289234,4095:289855,4107:295910,4173:297470,4189$0,0:450,4:2325,41:3150,53:3900,66:4425,74:8690,110:13325,162:14150,177:16400,216:16775,222:17150,228:17975,243:18350,252:18725,258:19775,272:20750,288:27166,311:36860,404:40164,423:40428,429:43266,476:43596,482:43992,489:45180,512:45444,517:49145,543:54529,559:55556,575:56346,588:56662,593:58242,629:58558,634:59111,642:60612,666:70570,758:71146,769:75120,808:75380,813:80572,875:82574,908:83113,917:85346,950:88293,977:91978,1010:92824,1017:105702,1163:106118,1168:106846,1176:107782,1191:116470,1249:116920,1255:117820,1265:119260,1300:123220,1358:123580,1363:131339,1426:132450,1446:135278,1479:135884,1486:136389,1493:137399,1507:137803,1512:138308,1518:138712,1523:140429,1546:140833,1551:147300,1597:147632,1602:148379,1613:152379,1692:153069,1703:153345,1708:153966,1719:154656,1731:155346,1743:157900,1761:158600,1769:160500,1790:162500,1813:170403,1899:173562,1944:173967,1950:175425,1979:175911,1986:176478,1995:176802,2000:178260,2025:179070,2037:183201,2122:183606,2128:188534,2146:194280,2209:199080,2312:206444,2376:207708,2396:210552,2434:210868,2439:211974,2456:214210,2464:218095,2517:218705,2529:219437,2551:219681,2556:220108,2567:220352,2572:222070,2594:223750,2637:224660,2654:227580,2662:228570,2674:229065,2680:235440,2748:238800,2824:239280,2832:240560,2860:241200,2871:241680,2879:245040,2930:249100,2960:249622,2967:250231,2975:252406,3002:253972,3033:256000,3072
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce F. Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce F. Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce F. Brown describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce F. Brown describes her maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce F. Brown recalls her maternal grandmother's sewing business

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce F. Brown describes her parents' work ethic

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce F. Brown describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce F. Brown talks about her extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce F. Brown describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce F. Brown remembers her family's apartments in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joyce F. Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce F. Brown describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce F. Brown remembers her parents' emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce F. Brown describes the Our Lady of Lourdes School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce F. Brown describes her relationship with her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce F. Brown remembers her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce F. Brown remembers celebrating the holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce F. Brown remembers Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce F. Brown remembers her road trip to California

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joyce F. Brown remembers her graduate studies at New York University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joyce F. Brown describes the start of her career as an academic administrator

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce F. Brown talks about New York City's middle college high school program

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce F. Brown describes the South African business program at the City University of New York, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce F. Brown describes the South African business program at the City University of New York, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce F. Brown recalls her acting presidency of Baruch College in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce F. Brown talks about her teaching experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce F. Brown remembers serving as Mayor David N. Dinkins' deputy mayor

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce F. Brown reflects upon the development of her career aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce F. Brown talks about Mayor David N. Dinkins' administration

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce F. Brown recalls joining the Graduate Center faculty at the City University of New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce F. Brown describes her courses at the City University of New York Graduate Center

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce F. Brown reflects upon her background in psychology

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce F. Brown recalls becoming president of the Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce F. Brown describes New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce F. Brown talks about her selection as president of the Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce F. Brown describes her background in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joyce F. Brown describes the expansion of the Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joyce F. Brown describes the curriculum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce F. Brown talks about her husband, H. Carl McCall's political career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce F. Brown talks about her board memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce F. Brown talks about the students of color at the Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce F. Brown describes the Fashion Institute of Technology's programs

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce F. Brown reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce F. Brown narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce F. Brown narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Joyce F. Brown remembers serving as Mayor David N. Dinkins' deputy mayor
Joyce F. Brown talks about her selection as president of the Fashion Institute of Technology
Transcript
I've got to ask you to segue into the deputy mayor. What's your agenda there? What--$$Well--$$What, how long are you there and what do you do?$$Well, I'm actually only there for a year because I guess the first lesson I learned was never go in the last year of an administration.$$And whose administration are you entering?$$It was in--David Dinkins [HistoryMaker David N. Dinkins] was mayor, and we are now entering into the reelection phase where everything is focused on that. Now I'm not a novice to the political world, but, you know, it wa- if anything could send you running back to academia, this was it, you know.$$So I guess one of my questions is, what do you find is much--I guess I got the impression from looking at your materials that the city seemed a lot more, less ruly perhaps than an academic organization. They've got a lot more experience with the colleges, so maybe it's just that, but--$$The city seemed a lot less what?$$Seemed more unruly, is the more common term.$$As a system?$$As a system as opposed to the--$$Oh yeah. Yeah.$$--college scene, but it might just be you have more experience in the college scene or in the academia. What, you know, what shocked you about running a city?$$Well, I guess what was the--what was surprising and difficult to deal with was you never knew what was on the agenda. So I'd wake up in the morning and turn on the news to figure out how my day was gonna be--$$Oh, wow.$$--you know. It could be anything. I mean you, you wake up and you hear the news and you go along, you know, getting ready for your day, but you know, we had boat people showing up on the shores in Brooklyn [New York]. I mean you have riots, you have--you know, it is just a constant beat that you can't control. I mean that is, you know I used to say I could get there at seven in the morning and there would be people waiting. So then I would allow myself to leave say at nine at night only by making a list. So I'd make my list of twelve things I was definitely going to do in the morning and then when I left at nine that night, my list of twelve had now (laughter) become twenty because you, you just really can't structure your life that way. I mean it's really in many ways reactive. And that, I think we try to do too many things for too many people for all the right reasons. You know, we want, we want to be welcoming. We want people to find their place here, but it is, it's huge, it's huge. So, you know, from street fair permits to deer--overflowing gutters in, you know, one of the boroughs to, you know, you name it, that's what comes to city hall [New York City Hall, New York, New York]. So--$$Wow.$$--it was an interesting experience.$$So you thought perhaps academia?$$Perhaps all those, those internecine little battles that I thought were so important, maybe they're pretty tame (laughter) compared to all of this. At least they were about one set of things, you know, that, that--$$And you said earlier that one of the reasons you wanted to be a university president was because you could set the agenda. I mean I'm sure there are things that do not act exactly as you planned them, but do you still have a sense that as a president you have the opportunity to set the agenda?$$Yes. I think you have the opportunity to set the agenda. But you also have the responsibility to have, to create the circumstances within which people can buy into that agenda.$$Okay.$$You cannot set the agenda and ramrod it through. You will not succeed.$$I understand.$$This is a community of people, and everybody has a contribution to make to the success. While I might own all the failures, I certainly do not own all the successes. And so there has to be what I think you have the opportunity to do as the leader in this kind of community--in, in any academic community--is create dialogue and to create the participation, invite that participation. You don't always have to do what everybody wants you to do. But you do, I think, have an obligation to explain why you are doing the things that you are doing, and those things ought to be contributing to the greater good of the long range vision and the long range plan.$And when you were in the running for the presidency, were you the obvious choice? How did that, how did that selection develop?$$You know I'm not so certain. I don't, I don't really know who my competition was. I never asked once how I got here. I think they had been searching for a while. And--$$And had they had a black or female president before?$$No, no.$$And does that make a difference?$$You know, I always say it's, it's never incidental to who you are. I don't think people look at you and do not take note of your ethnicity or your gender. I think, however, there was so much work to do, we, you know, and I was very serious about the agenda of the work and I was hell bound and determined to succeed, so there were no excuses and certainly people can bring it up and they can raise it, but it's really got to be, I mean the dialogue has to be around what's important for our- us to succeed with our mission and our vision for going forward. Quite frankly, I think people have liked having a female president, and maybe they even like having an African American president. I'm not--$$Well I read one article that informed me that the rumor was that perhaps your political connections enabled you to attain the presidency. Do you think that your getting the job had anything to do with whom you're married to and the politicization of New York City [New York, New York] and state?$$Well, you know the--. I love it, I love how people get paid to sort of twist things into a headline that they think will sell their twenty-five cent newspapers. So, the, the media types decided that because my husband [HistoryMaker H. Carl McCall], how was that to work? I mean it was so convoluted that because my husband was running for governor that the sitting governor who was his opponent would name me president so that, maybe so that my husband wouldn't run or wouldn't attack. I don't really even remember, so the, I mean, if you would like to, you know, denigrate thirty years of work that lead me up to being eligible to compete for the job, I suppose that would be a reasonable thing to say. But, on the other hand, I loved the headlines. I saw it in one of the tabloids it said: "McCall's wife to head FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York]." This nameless person, wasn't that biblical? Wasn't it, you know, the, the wife who remained nameless and was to simply obey, so, McCall's wife. So I said that was fine as long as when he ran for governor they said, "Brown's husband running for governor." I thought that would be a fair exchange. Of course, that never happened either, I--. So no, I think it was all kind of business as usual trying to, you know, make headlines, twist things and, you know, it makes a one day story.$$Then it goes away.$$You just have to, you really do have to learn to roll with it. You have to be able to tolerate a certain dissonance in these jobs or you will not succeed. I mean you cannot indulge yourself by losing it over things that have nothing to do with what your focus is supposed to be.

Dorothy Cowser Yancy

Johnson C. Smith University President Dorothy Cowser Yancy was born on April 18, 1944 in Cherokee County, Alabama to Linnie Bell Covington Cowser and Howard Cowser, a farmer. She was raised on the family farm once owned by her great-great grandfather. Upon graduation from Hatcher High School in 1960, Yancy entered Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina where she was a student activist in the Civil Rights Movement, holding memberships in the SGA, SCLC, and SNCC. She graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in 1964 with her B.A. degree in history. In 1964, Yancy entered the University of Massachusetts where she earned her M.A. degree in history. Simultaneously, she received a certificate in management development from Harvard University. In 1968, Yancy married Robert James Yancy, and in 1974, she entered the doctoral program in political science at Atlanta University where she became an accomplished scholar.

After receiving her Ph.D. degree from Atlanta University, Yancy sought post-graduate work at a variety of institutions including the University of Singapore, Hampton University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Georgia Tech University and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Yancy became a tenure-track professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1972 and served as professor of history, technology, and society and management. She became the first African American professor to be promoted and tenured as a full professor. She also served as Associate Director of the School of Social Sciences, and she remained at Georgia Tech until 1994, when she became the first female president of Johnson C. Smith University.

As president, Yancy doubled the University endowment to approximately $57 million and increased applications 300%. She also upgraded the technical capabilities of the school by ensuring that each undergraduate student receives an IBM Thinkpad upon entry through a lease program. During her presidency, Yancy became the first female board president of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Yancy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 20, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.180

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/20/2007

Last Name

Yancy

Maker Category
Middle Name

Cowser

Schools

Hatcher High School

Savage Wood Elementary School

Johnson C. Smith University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Clark Atlanta University

Northwestern University

Northeastern University

First Name

Dorothy

Birth City, State, Country

Cherokee County

HM ID

COW01

Favorite Season

Christmas, Thanksgiving

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Spas

Favorite Quote

No Good Deed Will Go Unpunished.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

4/18/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

String Beans, Barbeque Ribs

Short Description

Political science professor and university president Dorothy Cowser Yancy (1944 - ) was the first female president of Johnson C. Smith University.

Employment

Johnson C. Smith University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Albany State College

Barat College

Hampton Institute

Favorite Color

Bright, Dark Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:5259,64:6135,146:10734,316:17502,398:20018,448:20462,456:24088,547:25494,578:26086,587:26530,594:26826,599:27270,624:27714,632:29934,704:30230,709:37250,754:37670,760:42458,851:44222,882:45818,924:62691,1221:64192,1312:64587,1320:66878,1385:73593,1590:73909,1595:79390,1617:80300,1637:81070,1652:83450,1698:87230,1807:88840,1848:89120,1853:89750,1864:90030,1869:90730,1881:93600,1952:94160,1961:102869,2221:107200,2322:107626,2329:110040,2384:115081,2489:115720,2500:117566,2540:118205,2552:118631,2559:118915,2564:125123,2645:130349,2757:131421,2781:131957,2790:132292,2796:132895,2808:134637,2857:140278,2903:141300,2926:143782,3022:154821,3220:156201,3247:158961,3311:164205,3446:164619,3453:179392,3731:180049,3742:180487,3749:181436,3765:181874,3772:183918,3816:184356,3823:191830,3910:192374,3920:192782,3927:193190,3934:199310,4066:199718,4074:199990,4079:206060,4155:206970,4172:209290,4212$0,0:380,4:13075,187:13755,197:15215,209:17015,243:17615,252:31325,626:33326,695:37937,801:51029,956:52611,984:66797,1230:71529,1273:77000,1405:77320,1415:81819,1496:82104,1502:82389,1508:88762,1650:98648,1796:101090,1929:125135,2373:125604,2382:125872,2387:131374,2414:132366,2439:136644,2602:138566,2646:148920,2820:154220,2842:158290,2923$0,0:1600,34:4560,105:8240,191:8560,196:9280,212:14480,328:15040,337:16000,419:18320,494:19520,515:20400,549:29700,642:30075,648:34500,752:40275,956:41925,1004:42525,1021:43275,1033:47850,1125:48300,1132:49575,1166:63389,1466:64394,1495:66873,1519:70223,1591:71630,1617:72032,1624:75114,1690:75516,1697:84610,1732:85730,1752:87130,1780:88110,1798:88950,1813:90420,1842:91960,1867:92730,1884:93010,1889:93360,1895:94690,1927:99320,1972
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorothy Cowser Yancy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her parents' roots in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her white relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her family's land in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her early interest in literature

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers Hatcher High School in Centre, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls segregation in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her parents' professions and siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her sister's role at Hatcher High School in Centre, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the racial tensions in Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her experiences at Hatcher High School in Centre, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about the segregation of schools in Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls her paternal relatives who passed as white

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her arrival at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the civil rights activities at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her experiences at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recall her aspiration to attend graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls her arrival at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her summer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her decision to become a teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her teaching position at Albany State College in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her husband and daughter

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls her doctoral studies at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her courses at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her work with the labor unions in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls the impact of desegregation and the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls integrating the tenured faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her social life in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her role as an associate director at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about The Links chapter in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her holiday celebrations

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy recalls how she became the president of Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers her mentors at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her capital campaign at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the laptop program at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the use of technology at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about the security system at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the international studies programs at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy remembers working with her former professors at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy reflects upon the traditions at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her fundraising strategies

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the social activities at Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about Johnson C. Smith University's donors

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about the Smith family's contribution to Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her decision to retire from Johnson C. Smith University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about her involvement with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her role at the United Negro College Fund

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy talks about returning home to Cherokee County, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dorothy Cowser Yancy reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1$1

DATape

3$5$1

DAStory

1$2$10

DATitle
Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes the civil rights activities at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina
Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her capital campaign at Johnson C. Smith University
Dorothy Cowser Yancy describes her early interest in literature
Transcript
You had mentioned the Civil Rights Movement, so when you got to Johnson C. Smith [Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina] how did that manifest on campus?$$Well, you know, you have to remember now I came out of Alabama where the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] was illegal. We had had the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but in north Alabama, nothing had happened, not in the north Alabama where I lived. After I left home, there was a movement in Gadsden, Alabama and my cousins were involved in it and then my cousins integrated the Cherokee County High School [Centre, Alabama] after I left home. And eventually my sister [Evelyn Cowser] taught at the white high school. But when I left home, everything was still segregated. And so when I came here, and, and, and I knew about the sit-ins, I immediately began to participate 'cause it made a lot of sense to me.$$What were the organizations?$$Well, we just had a student government here on campus. And I remember Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.], you know, SNCCs [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee], S--SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference], SNCC and stuff like that. But we had a student organization. But see, I, I don't remember too much the stu- the, the SNCC and all that. I remember Dr. Hawkins [Reginald Hawkins]. There was a man here in town who was a dentist, who also had graduated from Johnson C. Smith Seminary [Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia] and graduated from undergraduate school here. He led the movement in this town of students. And then we had student leaders, and I remember we had to go through this nonviolent training in the auditorium downstairs because you weren't supposed to spit back or hit back or anything like that. So I remember going through all of that before you went downtown to protest. But we used to go on Tuesdays and Thursdays, those were light teaching days. And the boys from Davidson [Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina] would come over sometimes. But the Queens girls [Queens College; Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina], I don't ever remember seeing them, although now they say they were in the movement. But I don't know anything about them. But I do remember the Davidson boys coming over. And we were--we were very active. We had Charlie Jones [Charles Jones] who was involved in SCL- was involved in SNCC, and Charlie ha- went on down to the protest in Mississippi and went on down to Albany, Georgia and places like that. And there were a few fellas out of the seminary, 'cause Charlie was in the seminary. It was--his mother was my English teacher. And Charlie used to write back letters telling us what was going on in the various southern towns that he was going, going through. And she would--we would go over them in class, in English class. And she would teach that along with 'The Iliad' [Homer] and 'The Odyssey' [Homer]. How she did it I will never know. Well, Ms. Jones was a wonder woman. She was considered to be a little fickle, you know, and quite avant garde, but she was one of the more exciting teachers I ever had. And she was fun and I kept her for two years of English, and I've always had the upmost respect for her.$$But she would teach the classics and then she would teach?$$And, and, and she would read Charlie's letters and somehow it would bring it into human rights and social justice. And we had--we had a teacher in religion whose name was Dr. Steele who believed that the Civil Rights Movement was sort of like God ordained. You know, if God was here, if Jesus was here he'd be in the movement too. And we had some very interesting religious--religion classes on social justice and the social gospel. Johnson C. Smith had an interesting social gospel that they taught at the seminary. And there's been a dissertation written on it about the social gospel that was taught in the seminary at Johnson C. Smith led by Algernon O. Steele. And it was--it was quite interesting because we knew that we were doing what God would've wanted us to do when we were protesting. And it was supported by the president and the faculty and everybody.$So, what was your plan of action when you got here, what did you wanna do?$$Well, the pla- when I got here, I walked into a capital campaign and the goal was $50 million. And so I had to raise the money. So I walked in and went to the capital campaign meeting and Ed Crutchfield who was the biggest banker in town head of First Union Bank [First Union Corporation; Wells Fargo and Company], and John Stedman [John B. Stedman, Jr.] who was the guru of fundraising here in town and the head of Duke Energy [Duke Energy Corporation] and Duke Power [Duke Power Company, Charlotte, North Carolina] at the time, and the head of the newspaper and the head of Lance [Lance, Inc.; Snyder's-Lance, Inc.]. That was my operating committee. I mean here are all these big dogs, you know, and here I am this kid who just walked out of the classroom. And so I'll never forget my first meeting. The--Ed Crutchfield was late. You know, Presbyterians are always on time. And then he looked at me and he says, "Well I don't know how we gonna tell the Johnson C. Smith story since Bob Albright [Robert Albright] has gone." And I remember looking at him, by now I'm really seething. I said, "Well I don't know what you are talking about, I am the damn story. And if I can't tell it, it can't be told. Bob Albright didn't go to Johnson C. Smith [Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina]." And he and I hit it off just like that. And we've been friends ever since. And he helped--we work together. We met every three months and we raised that money.$$How long did it take you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) We had sixty-three--in--in '98 [1998] we ended the campaign at $63.8 million. That's right.$$And you had more than doubled the endowment or?$$The endowment has gone from when I came here it was 13 something, and a few weeks ago it was 53 million, 'cause we just finished an--another campaign. It was 75 million and we've hit 80.6 million. So it's, it's, it's been interesting. So what you see around the campus, the new library, the new technology center, the renovation of this building, the track and academic complex, the renovation of the buildings, the air conditioning of all the dormitories. You know, the, the gr- I mean all the things you see around here are the things that we've done and the infrastructure. We've tried to, to improve upon what we found and just create a very good learning community, a place where students can come and learn and go out and be, be successful and main--major contributors to, to, to the universe. I mean, we, we wanna raise global students and I think we do that with our technology. I don't think our students would know what to do without having a laptop. They've all had one individually since 2000. And I think that's probably the, the connections that they made with the world is probably the best contribution or the major contributions of, of something I've given to them.$What was your favorite subject in school?$$Well, I liked math and I liked--I, I loved to read, that was, that was my favorite thing.$$What did you like to read, what books?$$Well, I loved to read anything. And I remember my favorite set of books, and you're probably gonna think I'm really nerdy now, was this set of Childcraft that the school [Savage Wood Elemenatary School, Cherokee County, Alabama] had. The little school had a set of Childcraft, I don't know who bought them. But when the school closed and my father [Howard Cowser] bought the school, we ended up with the whole set of Childcraft. And we used--I used to read all of the fairy tales and all of the stories. And then we would have, you know, they had that big long one, what volume thirteen and fourteen were the big long skinny ones, remember. And they had the--had all the wild animals and all this kind of stuff in it. And it was a really exciting book. And of course the story--the stories you don't tell those kind of stories to children anymore because the people got eaten up, you know. They had to--had to sort of make them socially acceptable in recent years. But I still--we still have that set in my parents' ho- house. But I used to just love to read anything. And then my mother [Linnie Covington Cowser] used to get Progressive Farmer, I know that's not gonna float your boat, but we used to--I used to read The Progressive Farmer, I used to read Reader's Digest, and then Reader's Digest had the books, novels that you could get. And then we use to get all the magazines and stuff. I, I, I would just read anything. But my favorite person that I loved to read about that my mother had difficulty with was Billie Holiday. I loved Billie Holiday. I thought she had the most beautiful voice in the world, but it was about the time that she was on drugs and my mother was just incensed that I wanted to read about this woman. So I would hide and read everything I could about Billie Holiday.

The Honorable Hazel O'Leary

Cabinet appointee and president of Fisk University, Hazel Rollins O’Leary was born Hazel Reid on May 17, 1937, in Newport News, Virginia to Dr. Russell Edward Reid and Hazel Palleman. Raised by her stepmother Mattie Ross Reid, O’Leary attended the Urban League’s camp in Atwater, Massachusetts every summer where she met Alma Brown and the Delany sisters. O’Leary attended Aberdeen Gardens School in Hampton, Virginia, Booker T. Washington School, John Marshall School and Huntington High School in Newport News, Virginia. O’Leary graduated from the High School of Fine and Performing Arts in Newark, New Jersey in 1955. She then graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Fisk University in 1959, at the cusp of the Civil Rights Movement. Among her teachers were Vivian Henderson, Robert Hayden, and T.S. Courier. O’Leary went on to obtain her J.D. degree from Rutgers University Law School in 1966.

From 1967 to 1969, O’Leary handled organized crime cases while serving as assistant county prosecutor in Essex County, New Jersey. Later, she joined the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, O’Leary acted as assistant administrator of the Federal Energy Commission, general counsel of the Community Services Administration, and an administrator for the Economic Regulatory Commission of the newly-created Department of Energy. In 1981, O’Leary and her husband formed O’Leary and Associates, 1989 to 1993, where she served as executive vice president of Northern States Power in Minnesota.

Nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993, O’Leary became the seventh United States Secretary of Energy and the first African American woman to serve in that office. As Secretary, O’Leary changed the department’s Office of Classification to the Office of Declassification, initiated an aggressive clean-up of surplus plutonium, created an Openness Advisory Panel, and encouraged the Clinton administration to end nuclear testing in the United States. O’Leary established the Samuel P. Massie Chair of Excellence Professorship in Environmental Disciplines which benefited nine historically black colleges and universities. In 1996, O’Leary resigned and joined Blaylock and Partners, becoming CEO in 2002. In 2004, O’Leary was named President of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

O’Leary served on the boards of Africare, UAL Inc. (parent company of United Airlines), Morehouse College; Alchemix Corporation; AES Corporation; The Center for Democracy; ICF Kaiser; Scottish Re, Ltd.; Nashville Chamber Orchestra; the World Wildlife Fund; Nashville Alliance for Public Education; ITC Holdings, Inc.; and Nashville Business Community for the Arts. O’Leary also received numerous honors for her work. O’Leary was widowed in 1987 and she also has one son, attorney Carl G. Rollins III.

Hazel O'Leary was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 15, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.090

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/15/2007

Last Name

O'Leary

Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Aberdeen Gardens School

John Marshall School

Booker T. Washington Middle School

Arts High School

Fisk University

Rutgers University

Huntington High School

First Name

Hazel

Birth City, State, Country

Newport News

HM ID

OLE01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Reynaldo Glover

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Scuba Diving

Favorite Quote

I'm On It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

5/17/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

University president and cabinet appointee The Honorable Hazel O'Leary (1937 - ) was the first African American United States Secretary of Energy and the president of Fisk University. O'Leary was also the CEO of Blaylock and Partners.

Employment

State of New Jersey

Coopers & Lybrand

Jimmy Carter administration

O’Leary and Associates

Northern States Power

Federal government of the United States

Blaylock and Partners

Fisk University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Hot Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:7347,250:19566,419:26532,530:27434,555:28090,565:28418,570:33010,695:37696,704:38156,710:38524,715:42350,740:56460,834:63800,907:67256,952:73560,991:80010,1101:82620,1142:88930,1188:89530,1197:90055,1206:90880,1218:92682,1230:94076,1253:94896,1264:101989,1305:102697,1320:106546,1341:106911,1347:114170,1450:114890,1461:121678,1525:122638,1536:123214,1543:123790,1550:130670,1609:131326,1618:136656,1692:139280,1745:149606,1976:153350,2053:153926,2063:154430,2071:154934,2080:155294,2086:155726,2093:156950,2115:178700,2414:185258,2480:185750,2487:187730,2492:189730,2536:204130,2838:204610,2845:226798,3082:227176,3089:227491,3095:227806,3101:228499,3114:229507,3136:230510,3148$0,0:1312,26:2378,39:7298,167:8036,183:8610,192:10578,223:11398,235:18690,321:20510,334:21070,342:23355,364:25901,426:26973,444:43032,606:48620,639:52210,649:54870,665:55680,676:59084,719:59750,730:60194,737:60638,745:61156,754:63006,787:69074,893:73292,967:79240,1011:79730,1020:80920,1041:81270,1047:81900,1058:82320,1065:82810,1074:83440,1085:84070,1100:86660,1163:87080,1171:87500,1178:91560,1186:91970,1192:93282,1211:93610,1216:93938,1221:95086,1246:102430,1301:102710,1306:102990,1311:103900,1336:107470,1406:108380,1421:115970,1524:116474,1532:117698,1559:118058,1565:118706,1575:119066,1581:119354,1586:120434,1607:120938,1615:121658,1626:122666,1642:123314,1653:136194,1806:143922,1969:148592,1992:150248,2022:151328,2040:155418,2078:159539,2142:159855,2147:176652,2376:184394,2491:188101,2508:189410,2541:190180,2555:190719,2564:192798,2609:193491,2619:198496,2724:198804,2729:199112,2734:205350,2761:206680,2775:208775,2787:212226,2831:212964,2852:222250,2960:229229,3014:229601,3019:236048,3076:236464,3081:236984,3087:237400,3092:247637,3205:248072,3212:248507,3218:249551,3241:249899,3246:252596,3327:276620,3580
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Hazel O'Leary's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her stepmother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her stepmother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary remembers her stepmother's mother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls her awareness of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes the role of church in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls radio and television programs

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls the Aberdeen Gardens in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her elementary school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary remembers Collis P. Huntington High School in Newport News, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary remembers the Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls her decision to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary remembers her experiences at Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary reflects upon the social conventions of Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls her professors at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her administration at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes the history of Nashville's historically black colleges

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary remembers Charles S. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls her peers at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes Diane Nash

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls teaching civil rights history at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls significant faculty at Fisk University

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
The Honorable Hazel O'Leary recalls her decision to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
The Honorable Hazel O'Leary describes her administration at Fisk University
Transcript
How did you choose a college? Now most of your family you say went to Hampton [Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia], right, they were Hampton people (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah, easy. And the other half, you know, at the beginning of integration they all went to, you know, majority schools, as did my sister [Edna Reid McCollum]. She went to Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. And I had three aunts who went, you know, to majority schools long ago. (Cough) I told you how close in age I was to my sister. So when I was a senior in high school [Arts High School, Newark, New Jersey], I would go up to see Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania to see my sister. There were three Negro women there, three. And my sense of them at Cedar Crest was that no one was mean to them, but no one knew what to do with them. And they were sort of foreign elements within the great sea. And then one weekend there was a social, yeah listen to this. The guys from Lehigh [Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania] came over to Cedar Crest College. And what I saw as these hordes of men came through, and my recollection is they may have been five Negro students from the engineering college. I will tell you that the chaperones were body blocking these black guys from talking to the white women, and the black women if it looked like, or Negro women. They were going to talk to the black, the white guys. And I thought to myself, and said so, why would I want to be in a place where A, apparently nobody really likes me, and B, someone is afraid that there will be this romantic flicker? So from that experience I go well, I guess I'm going to a Negro college. And I had a cousin here, recall though, my father [Russell Reid] and my birth mother [Hazel Pallemon Reagan] had gone to Meharry [Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee], so I said, "Hm, I think I'm going to Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee]." And in the family, you know, among all of those first cousins, the routine was each kid ready for college would be given enough money to apply to ten schools. I took my ten school money, I applied to Fisk, and I went shopping with the rest of it. And then I thought, what would I have done if I hadn't been admitted? I guess I would have had to go to Hampton. I think they would have taken me there, but I was admitted to Fisk. And I was happy here, and yeah I loved Fisk, yeah, yeah.$$Okay. So was it, was a change from high school. So you went from a segregated school in Newport News [Virginia] to an integrated--$$Yeah, to an integrated school.$$And then to, now to Fisk--$$Take me to where they're gonna love me.$$So you graduated from high school in '55 [1955]?$$Um-hm, '55 [1955], yeah.$$Okay, so you came here the fall of--$$I came in August really. And my father brought me here, which was very interesting. My introduction to life at Fisk involved opening a dresser drawer in my dorm room in Jubilee Hall and having a huge thing fly out of the drawer (makes sound). It was a flying cockroach. My father stood there laughing and said, "Welcome to the real world."$So you were reflecting on your student days at Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee] and comparing them to what's going on now at Fisk.$$Oh yeah, and I was--my insight is that there is still this deep involvement of faculty and administration and the lives and comportment of the kids. And I think it's a heavier burden today because they come with -- I'm just talking of my own sense of rebellion. But they come not understanding the boundaries. So they need, they need attention but it can't be heavy attention. And it's interesting, you don't see it, but we have a set of values at Fisk. We celebrate diversity, excellence, teamwork, accountability, integrity, leadership and service. And the reason we thought we should come up with the DETAILS, someone else pulled the acronym together, but we worked at settling on what our values would be, faculty, staff student. So it's right there behind you, the DETAILS. So you'll see signs hanging outside that say, "Our success is in the DETAILS." Which is also an attention to being careful to ensure that you follow the steps with the course that you lay out for yourself and your plan. But it is also to ensure that we model behavior, we don't just talk about the behavior. But that we model it. And so for these youngsters who now deal with their professors and the administration. There is the same involvement in their lives and the celebration of their victories, or you know, I don't want you to think it's all, as the kids would say, it's all good because sometimes it's a rough and rocky road. My first year here the head of the student government association got kicked out because she was on social probation for having a fight over something having to do with a Greek letter or whatever. And here is the bright kid with not enough discipline, I mean I don't even understand it, you know, two women going at it. And she was tremendously embarrassed. And I said to her, you have but one thing to do here. You will be on--she was on social probation for the entire year. I said you have but one thing to do here. You need to earn a 4.0 [grade point average] each semester and get yourself to law school. And you can come to me and talk about it. And then I told her, now they all know, I said but it's not so hard to stay in the dorm all semester, I've done it. And what you have to do is understand that this passage can be ugly or you can make something out of it. And so to continue, there are great teachers who are engaged in and involved in their students, who take the time. I talked early on about going down to admission because you know the students will be there. The so-called administrators who are involved, engaged and they will come to wherever they find simpatico and interest to seek help or seek advice. Or sometimes all because they were in trouble. And that's the glory of the small liberal arts black school [HBCU]. We're not tolerate--we don't tolerate our kids. We don't tolerate each other. We talk about the Fisk family, it exists and you know, you might talk about each other on this campus, but you don't leave here not doing anything other than lifting the kids who are here. And it's a great experience. There are nine hundred and I think fifty-six students here. By the time we get to next year, I will know all of their names. I mean, I mark the class I came in with, I came in a week before the class of 2008. So I'm a sophomore, I'm a sophomore this year, I'll be a junior--no I'm a junior this year. I'll be a senior next year, that's my class.

J. Herman Blake

Born John Herman Blake on March 15, 1934, Blake grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, as one of seven children raised by his single mother, Lylace E. Blake. Blake’s family lived in poverty, surviving only by welfare. Blake’s mother encouraged each of her children to participate and excel in school; all seven children completed high school; six received bachelor’s degrees; five achieved master’s degrees; and two earned doctorate degrees.

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Blake continued his education with the assistance of the G.I. Bill; he enrolled in New York University in 1955, and received his B.A. degree in sociology in 1960. Blake went on to receive his M.A. degree and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1966, Blake, as the Assistant Professor of Sociology, became the first African American on the University of California Santa Cruz faculty. During his eighteen year tenure, Blake also served as the Founding Provost of Oakes College at the University of California Santa Cruz.

After leaving the University of California Santa Cruz, Blake served as the President of Tougaloo College until 1987; held positions at Swarthmore College; served as the Vice Chancellor at Indiana University; and served as the Director of African American Studies at Iowa State University. In 2002, Blake was named Iowa Professor of the Year and received an Honorary Degree from Indiana University.In addition to his career in education, Blake published several projects including Revolutionary Suicide, an autobiography of Huey P. Newton, which was the result of his research on black militants in urban areas.

Blake also researched many other topics; his work made him a leading authority on the Gullah culture. Additionally, Blake served as the Scholar in Residence and Director of the Sea Island Institute at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, an institution whose primary focus is the study and promotion of Gullah Cultures. In 2008, the Medical University of South Carolina appointed Blake as the first Humanities Scholar in Residence. Blake served as an advisor to the University’s Humanities Committee and to the President and Provost on matters of cultural enrichment.

Accession Number

A2007.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/31/2007

Last Name

Blake

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Herman

Schools

Northeastern Academy

New York University

University of California, Berkeley

First Name

J.

Birth City, State, Country

Mt. Vernon

HM ID

BLA12

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Central California

Favorite Quote

Keep On Keepin' On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

3/15/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charleston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potato Cobbler

Short Description

University president and sociology professor J. Herman Blake (1934 - ) was the president of Tougaloo College, and was a tenured member of the the University of California Santa Cruz faculty for eighteen years. Blake also authored the Huey P. Newton biography, "Revolutionary Suicide," and is a well-respected as a leading authority on Gullah culture.

Employment

University of California Santa Cruz

Tougaloo College

Iowa State University

Favorite Color

Sky Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6586,98:19430,265:20343,283:32852,432:36750,519:37185,525:38838,567:46059,696:51478,761:55622,852:55918,901:82324,1246:100049,1453:100759,1464:108100,1582:112420,1661:121950,1850:140114,2118:146935,2208:148720,2239:154836,2291:159136,2338:160648,2359:161572,2372:162328,2383:164764,2412:168192,2427:168707,2433:177359,2537:177874,2543:178492,2550:180243,2575:180758,2581:185690,2605:188228,2638:191641,2681:192579,2697:193852,2719:194120,2724:197170,2755:197470,2761:198490,2783:203894,2835:205708,2848:206544,2860:207608,2876:211028,2942:214700,2956:217872,3043:222528,3076:222832,3081:223364,3089:228946,3185:230510,3220:232890,3286:233298,3293:237166,3353:241582,3405:250690,3566:256470,3667$0,0:3998,110:4703,116:6536,126:8510,141:9497,149:21870,206:25398,255:26574,270:28002,289:30522,327:40241,388:40850,397:41546,409:42242,419:43286,432:46000,442:56492,572:57148,581:63110,647:78558,900:79952,923:80854,936:81838,951:99083,1141:99375,1146:99959,1156:104631,1257:109000,1267:110148,1286:110968,1297:113346,1332:113838,1339:114248,1345:114658,1351:124366,1487:126998,1525:134758,1597:135416,1605:136262,1615:140540,1644:141380,1653:149470,1689:150280,1698:151009,1709:152180,1716:156412,1740:161990,1792:162620,1801:166320,1823:166645,1829:167295,1842:167880,1856:168855,1874:175472,2051:178880,2127:179600,2138:180680,2162:193956,2322:196882,2366:197806,2383:210549,2548:211872,2575:213258,2634:213510,2639:213951,2647:214644,2660:219512,2707:219808,2712:230670,2817:233960,2909:237200,2944
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of J. Herman Blake's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls his childhood home in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his paternal ancestry on Johns Island, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake describes his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake describes his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - J. Herman Blake describes his two oldest brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls the generosity of Lillian Tinsley

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls living with the family of Thaddeus Wilson, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describe his neighborhood in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his early education in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake recalls his influences at Harlem Junior Academy in New York City, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake recalls his influences at Harlem Junior Academy in New York City, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls learning about African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake recalls attending New York City's Harlem Junior Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes his early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake remembers being drafted to the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake recalls being stationed in France

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls his marriage to Bessie Jefferson Blake

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake remembers attending New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake recalls his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkley

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake describes his social activism in California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake recalls testifying at Huey P. Newton's trial

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake remembers visiting Huey P. Newton in prison

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls coauthoring 'Revolutionary Suicide'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake remembers author Alex Haley

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his civil rights activity in the 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake describes his civil rights activity in the 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake remembers his mother's death

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls his mother's pride in his accomplishments

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake recalls founding Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake recalls founding Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake recalls designing a course for Oakes College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes the significance of his lapel flower

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake describes his work with the Emil Schwarzhaut Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake recalls the service projects he implemented in the Sea Islands

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls his students' interactions with the community of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake describes Pat Conroy's interpretation of Daufuskie Island

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake recalls lessons from the residents of Daufuskie Island

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake talks about Pat Conroy's book, 'The Water Is Wide'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes storyteller Thomas Stafford

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls editing the journal of the National Black Law Students Association

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake remembers community activist Thomas Barnwell

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake describes the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls founding Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake describes the faculty of Oakes College

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes the students at Oakes College

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake remembers Alex Haley's Kinte Library Project

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake describes his friendship with Alex Haley

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls watching the filming of 'Roots'

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - J. Herman Blake recalls Alex Haley's article about Daufuskie Island

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - J. Herman Blake recalls leaving Oakes College in Santa Cruz, California

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - J. Herman Blake recalls his presidency at Mississippi's Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - J. Herman Blake describes the financial challenges he faced at Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - J. Herman Blake describes the students at Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - J. Herman Blake describes his philosophy of learning

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - J. Herman Blake recalls a conflict with the alumni of Tougaloo College

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - J. Herman Blake recalls an incident of sexual assault at Tougaloo College

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
J. Herman Blake recalls coauthoring 'Revolutionary Suicide'
J. Herman Blake recalls his presidency at Mississippi's Tougaloo College
Transcript
Well there was a time when his mother made a mistake and she came with two of her daughters, as I recall, on my day because you see, if you visited with Huey [Huey P. Newton], he wasn't in solitary confinement so we each came on a different day. There was one day when you couldn't visit, that's when his lawyers would come and they weren't on the list anyhow so it was keeping him out of solitary confinement. So on my day we're sitting there, Huey and I talking, and here comes Mrs. Newton [Armelia Johnson Newton] along with one or two of her daughters, there's several of us and they came in. So we were all there talking and in the course of the conversation Mrs. Newton got into talking about Gene Marine, who had written a book ['The Black Panthers'] about the Black Panther Party and this, that and the other and Ms. Newton said, "You know, that white man came and talked to me and then he went and lied on me." She did not like the book. She said, "He lied on me," and she's calling "Huerry"; she didn't say Huey, Huey--, "Huerry." She said, "Huerry, Huerry, why don't you write a book?" And Huey said, "I can't write a book, Dr. Blake [HistoryMaker J. Herman Blake] can write a book," and out of that interchange came the notion that Dr. Blake would do a biography of Huey Newton. There would be a, quote, authorized biography. So I picked up on the idea and started organizing my material, contacted Alex Haley for counsel and began collecting data on Huey Newton, mainly from him. We talked about a lot of things and he thought he was going to be in there for seventeen years and he told me a lot of stuff. Well what Huey would do was he would talk and then I'd come out of the prison [California Men's Colony, San Luis Obispo, California] and I had a tape recorder in my car and as soon as I came out, I would go over what he said and put it on the tape recorder. Now our style of working with, we'd talk about something for two hours and I'd review it. And we'd talk about something more and I'd review it and then before I left, I'd go down the list of issues and when I got in the car, on that tape, one of my students would be driving and I'd be talking on that tape, recording that account and that's how we began to do that. And then in August of 1970, as I recall, his conviction was reversed and he was released. It was at that time we decided to change it from an authorized biography to a first person account with me as, you know, Huey Newton as the author and me assisting but I wrote every line, every single word and I put it in the first person. Now let me say that was a task I would never do again because you have to give up your own personality and your own ego and step into somebody else's body and I was never comfortable with that being a scholar, because you're not doing scholarly work, you're essentially just channeling somebody else's material and ideas and Huey and I had some strong disagreements because I felt there had to be some analytical approaches in there but he did not want that but I don't know how you do this without being analytical. He just wanted it to be descriptive and he wanted it to be the kind of thing that would sell, he saw it selling like 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' [Malcolm X and Alex Haley], things like that. It didn't but, I mean, it's not a good book but it's all right but that's how that came to be and I wrote it ['Revolutionary Suicide,' Huey P. Newton and J. Herman Blake], like I said, but we had real conflicts. I learned things about him and about his father that he had forgotten or didn't know but he didn't want that stuff in there. Oh, it was interesting.$You were going to tell me about your experience at Tougaloo [Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi].$$Well, Clark Kerr, the quintessential college president of the 20th century was one of my mentors, and Clark and I use the same phrase when we talk our presidencies. That is, I left my presidency the same way I entered it: fired with enthusiasm. I went to Tougaloo really wanting to focus on building an academic, intellectual community that would provide upward mobility through intellectual achievement for Mississippi students. Tougaloo was on hard times, it had suffered serious declines in enrollment and it was literally trying to buy students to come to Tougaloo. I did not realize and did not understand that many people wanted me to come to Tougaloo from the University of California [University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California] because they thought I would attract back to Tougaloo those outstanding, high achieving students who came to Tougaloo when they couldn't go to the University of Mississippi [Oxford, Mississippi]. That's not what I was interested in. My position was, if they can go elsewhere, they should be encouraged to go elsewhere and we should reach down in the well and bring out those who haven't been able to. This college has a historical contribution in that regard and we should reach those people and I was good at it. I had done it at Santa Cruz so that's what I wanted to do at Tougaloo. There were many people who had no interest in that kind of a mission or that kind of a vision. That was number one. I found myself up against serious financial constraints but even more, a cultural dynamic of negative self-perception that was willing to accept mediocrity, and I found that in key administrators, and I found that in the board of trustees. One of the first things I did when I got to Mississippi was I contacted the former, not the former president, the president of Alcorn State [Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College; Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi], Herman Washington [sic. Walter Washington], who was a Tougaloo graduate and Herman Washington told me that my biggest problem at Tougaloo was going to be the believability barrier. People don't believe they can be good. Then I contacted William Winter, the former governor of Mississippi who had done so much to improve education in the state and I recruited him as a mentor with the hope, eventually, of recruiting him to join the board. He came and gave talks to my board at dinner meetings and the first thing William Winter said to me was, "Dr. Blake [HistoryMaker J. Herman Blake], your biggest challenge in Mississippi is the believability barrier," the same thing Herman Washington had said but William Winter was talking a broader context. I did not understand that, I did not understand that. If you have an opportunity to bring the resources and get people to grow, why would they not?